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Following Jamie Oliver – Mixed Mushrooms and Spicy Chorizo Homemade Pappardelle & Mashed Veg

In Food - HK on August 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Homemade Pasta! We’ve had a pasta machine (attachable to the kitchen-aid mixer) for a few years now and rarely get it out to use. So I thought, why not have some summer fun and invite my friend and my mom over to help cook (and eat, of course) dinner?

My friend and I started making the pappardelle at 3 pm (who knew how long we were going to take?), and it turned out perfect for a 6:30 dinner. All 3 of our recipes – the pasta itself, pappardelle dish, and the mashed vegetable came from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef – and I can tell you in advance that it turned out GREAT!

We needed (for the homemade pasta):
250g Semolina flour
250g Strong/Bread flour
8 egg yolks
3 free range eggs

I know that it seems like a lot of eggs, but you do want that eggy texture and flavor in the end!

Eggs & Flour, ready to be kneaded

All we did was knead it until smooth. The dough was bit dry, but was fine after putting in the fridge for about 20 minutes. We managed to get some really long strands (and make some really long pappardelle):

Through the Pasta Machine!

Though we had machines to cut spaghetti and linguini, we liked pappardelle so we used a knife to cut the pasta sheets into fairly wide strips. Pasta is done.

Cooking our homemade pappardelle was no less exciting. There were lots of things to chop – we first added onion, garlic, and spicy chorizo sausage. Then the mushrooms; we had 6 different varieties of mushroom, 3 from the market and 3 from citisuper (the market only had 3). It looked like heaps and HEAPS when we first put it in. I knew it would shrink but it was almost literally a towering mound of mushrooms. After the water had evaporated off, and the amount of mushrooms went back to a normal-looking state, we added the pappardelle, and with a few tosses our dish was done.

Table was set nicely

My mom made her signature 18-hour no-knead bread, which was NOT one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes.

Mom's Signature No Knead Bread - Crackling, Crunchy, and Chewy

Mixed Mushrooms and Spicy Chorizo Homemade Pappardelle

Mixed Mushrooms and Spicy Chorizo Homemade Pappardelle

Onto the mashed veggies. You can choose any root vegetables you like, but we used potato, carrot, turnip, parsnip, beet, and bottled anchovies. All you had to do was cut the vegetables into chunks and boil in water until mashable. Mash then add butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper, all to taste. I added lots of olive oil, it’s my favorite ūüôā

Mashed Veg - this dish was so simple but tasted so fresh and healthy!

We also had a light pea cream soup to accompany, but unfortunately we forgot to snap some pictures. This was the perfect activity for an otherwise mundane and lethargic day for me! The dinner was absolutely delicious (if I may say so myself, which I have) and I found another simple but very tasty vegetable dish. Making pasta is fun, and I’m already looking forward to making it again next week! Though I can’t make it too often…

Papabubble Candy Store

In Food - HK on August 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

While flipping through a magazine, one of those Hong Kong Walker type of stuff, I came across a page about Papabubble. ¬†They make the hard candies that have patterns decorated in them, a thing that really has been gaining popularity! ¬†And it’s so fun to watch!

Colorful and great for gifts

While we were there they let us try flavors before buying, and we found that lychee tasted the best!

Papabubble

Making the Candy

A fun shop to go to even if you don’t have a sweet tooth. ¬†You can even order personalized candies, but there is a minimum requirement of 6kg per order, so it would be perfect for giving away at a wedding!

 

At 38 Causeway Bay Road, Tai Hang

Murano – Specialty Restaurant Onboard Eclipse

In Baltics on July 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Murano

I won’t go into the specifics of each dish, but I must say that the Murano lobster (cooked at your tableside), the lobster bisque (very clear taste), and the Grand Marnier Souffle are my favorites for the three courses after dining twice. And here we are – pictures speak a thousand words, (but there are captions to help along the way).

amuse bouche of green pea soup

Scallop Wellington

Rocket Salad with Goat Cheese

Lobster Bisque

If you are ordering lobster or other dishes cooked at your table-side, he would be an excellent server! Precise and fluid motion somehow added to the taste of the resulting dish.

Two Portions of Murano Lobster (1 portion is already a lot!)

Flame - probably more for show than for taste.

Murano Lobster (1 portion), Cooked at Tableside

Veal Chop with Yorkshire Pudding

Duck Confit and Duck Breast

Cheese Wagon

Grand Marnier Souffle

Strawberry Crepe

Strawberry Crepe

Murano was a very traditional restaurant that served the classics. Certainly a lot better than the main dining room, with a lot of tasty dishes. A good place to satisfy yourselves with well-cooked (and well-known) dishes!

Madam Sixty Ate – 60 Johnston Road, Entrance on Ship Street

In Food - HK on July 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve treated myself to a nice exciting lunch. ¬†Partly because I’ve eating out too much – and partly because I wanted to try Madam Sixty Ate, a restaurant that required a week or two of advanced booking. So I waited patiently, not wanting to upset my stomach. ¬†Finally the day came and I had the chance to enjoy a delightfully clean, tasty lunch from Madam Sixty Ate.

Smile ūüôā

Interior decoration was great, as was the open kitchen

Paintings are intriguing

Paintings are intriguing

Our appetizer: a confit of juicy salmon atop a light risotto with some cabbage paste on the side, a true summer dish.  Salmon was a bit bland-tasting though.

Confit of Salmon

I got up to look around between courses, but when I came back there was a beautifully plated dish of sliced pork fillet in a nice onion sauce with just the right amount (a little bit)¬†of mashed potato. ¬†It was so tender! This dish of pork fillet must have been the most tender I’d ever eaten. ¬†Delicious.

Pork Fillet

Then our dessert came.  A meringue mille-feuille filled with a strong passionfruit custard, with some lychee.  Very refreshing and appropriate for the summer! Passionfruit flavor was a bit overpowering, but still yummy.

Meringue Mille-Feuille with Passionfruit Custard

I loved the flavors here – it wasn’t too fussy or too complicated, but the ingredients were all fresh and certainly inviting. ¬†I had a friend who told me that the service wasn’t too good (the food came too slow), but I had a great experience (food actually came pretty quickly), and the chefs were very friendly. ¬†They even stopped to pose for a picture!

Thumbs Up!

Their website: http://madamsixtyate.com.hk/

Stop 2 – Warnemunde & Schwerin, Germany

In Baltics on July 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Our ship docked at Warnemunde, Germany, our second stop on the Baltics Cruise. We decided not to travel all the way to Berlin as it would take about 6 hours round trip. In the end we chose to visit Schwerin, to see their famous Schweriner Schloss, a romantic castle. The train we took went from Warnemunde to Rostock Hbf, where we switched trains to get to Schwerin. An one-way journey takes about an hour and half.

It was easy to walk from the train station to the castle; on the way we passed by an alleyway with a stall that had some barbecued ham on a spit. We had 1 serving for a little street snack – it was mostly tender, and the glaze was just right. The sauerkraut it came with was very good.

Barbecqued Ham

Schweriner Schloss! At last we arrived at the castle. It may not be as grand compared to other castles, but it was a pretty sight in the town and the gardens were expansive and good for a nice afternoon stroll.

Castle at Schwerin (Schweriner Schloss)

Castle at Schwerin (Schweriner Schloss)

Back of Castle

We enjoyed spending a relaxing afternoon just exploring the gardens of Schweriner Schloss, which was very diverse. There was a lot of ground to cover, garden to explore, and all sorts of flowers to wonder at.

Garden by the Castle

Garden by the Castle

Garden by the Castle

Garden by the Castle

Garden by the Castle

Garden by the Castle

We stopped by at a cafe on the way back to the train station at Schwerin, and sampled 2 light cakes with latte. The cakes were surprisingly flavorful, and very airy, satisfying for an afternoon snack.

Black Truffle Cake

Light Cream Cake

Back at Warnemunde, we took a little diversion into the port town. The scene was very vibrant, and the ambience was lively. Smaller, colorful boats dotted the canal that ran through the main street. However we found that Schwerin was a lot more peaceful, and Warnemunde had a more touristy feel to it. A lot of restaurants, but we didn’t try any. Lots of seagulls too!

Seagulls at Warnemunde

Seagulls at Warnemunde

Dinner at Qsine, Specialty Restaurant on Celebrity Eclipse

In Baltics on July 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Soon after we boarded the ship we tried one of Celebrity’s specialty restaurants: Qsine. The restaurant is known to serve “fun” food, interesting but not exactly molecular gastronomy. We thought it’d be nice to try the restaurant, though when we entered we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of taste. But it turned out great! It was not only cool (which gives it some bonus points), but the food actually tasted good.

Qsine

For a charge of US $35 per person, you can order as much as you want from the iPad menu, but this restaurant can really fill you up, so be careful. I found that the main courses were better here than the desserts (though the creme brulee served in an eggshell is a must).

iPad Menu

iPad Menu

Sangria was very light and refreshing, but alcohol was very easily consumed without being aware. Would definitely recommend trying. Comes in a big jug that can easily accommodate 3-5 people.

Sangria

We started off with the Disco Shrimp, “Disco” because of the flashing light in the ice. This was really good because the shrimps were really firm.

 

Disco Shrimp

Next course – the Alaskan King Crab. There was a thin fried noodle-like outside stuffed with crab and corn, in a tasty soup. This dish tasted good mostly, but I thought that the corn didn’t really go with it.

Alaskan King Crab

The waiters recommended Treseviche but we didn’t really like it. They were 3 little cups all with different mixes of seafood and vegetable. However we found the tastes too strong – one was too sour, one too spicy, it was just overwhelming. The fries here are really good though.

Treseviche

Lobster escargot is lobster and snail cooked just as a standard escargot dish would be. Good but a little heavy.

Lobster Escargot

This next dish composes of 12 little mixes of Mediterranean food. The lamb (bottom left) and the chili concarne (below) are really tasty, and the whole dish is pretty good. Quite filling.

Mediterranean Set

Chili Concarne

This dish is the best – sizzling hot sliders (miniburgers), tender and very juicy. You can add the sauce, but I think it tasted better without.

Burger Sliders

We actually visited Qsine twice, so I’ve added the other dishes we ate the second time below.

Popcorn fish and chips made with cod fish were yummy but normal; came with too many croquettes.

Popcorn Fish & Chips, with Croquettes

Souffles were not as light as expected, soups were okay. Dish was average overall.

Soup & Souffle

A lot of very rich flavors in the next dish. A few curries, 1 vegetable mix, and 1 with ricotta cheese blocks covered in a slightly salty green sauce. I found this very interesting – the ricotta had the texture of a hard tofu, and the sauce was very unique.

Taj Mahal - Indian Mix

An excellent fillet mignon, perfectly tender. However, the portion is huge. They gave us one per person but really we could have shared one. Creamy spinach on the side is also very good.

Painters Fillet Mignon

Desserts! What we all loved was the creme brulee, which came in an egg hidden in the grass of a basket. Strawberries were okay, but good for presentation.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Make sure to get the vanilla flavor!

Vanilla Creme Brulee

My favorite dessert would be the beignets and doughnuts. Fattening but very good texture.

Beignets & Doughnuts

The other desserts were rather ordinary, and we didn’t really have the stomach to eat them. Here is a soft cheesecake, tasted pretty good, but nothing special.

Soft Cheesecake

We had fun decorating our cupcakes.

Decorating Our Cupcakes

Cool presentation, just normal gelato inside.

Silver Bullet - Mango, Strawberry, and Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Berries

Like a regular chocolate cake but way too much of it.

Chocolate Tomb

Qsine is a pretty fun restaurant, and the food generally tasted really good. There was a mix of flavors, and though it was fusion, there were some great dishes. I would try it at least once.  Anyway, the food here is much better than the food served in the Moonlight Sonata.

Brugge (or Bruges), Belgium – Stop 1

In Baltics on July 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Bruges is a Unesco world heritage site, and has a very charming rustic feel to it. This was actually the place that I enjoyed the most; the old medieval architecture had been preserved. There were interesting shops to see (some more touristy than others), and chocolates were everywhere. You could actually travel to Brussels if you wanted, only one hour away, but that wouldn’t be possible for us since our stop here ends at 3:00.

We started off by sharing a booked cab from the company Rony’s Taxi for ‚ā¨90 return (+ tips). There were 7 people in total sharing the cab. We thought this was more convenient because the taxi would come right up to the ship and drop us off in the town center, whereas the shuttle bus for US $15 would only take you to the train station.

We started off here, at the Belfry Tower, Market Square.

Belfry Tower

Some of the scenic spots in Brugge:


Canals of Bruges

We had an 1 hour segway tour, just to see the town and have a little fun! Though the cobblestones made the ride a little bumpy, it was nice to be able to travel the quiet streets pretty early in the morning and enjoy the scenery and architecture in Brugge. (We had done the segway before, on a trip to Bangkok, and thought it was so fun that we had to do it again. It isn’t hard at all, and children can do it too!)

Segway Tour

We had actually booked a tour for 2 hours, but decided that since time was limited we should go explore the town and visit some local shops! We strolled the cobblestone streets from Market Square. There were so many chocolate shops it was chocolate heaven. Near the canal we saw a nice little chocolate shop, and got a Choc-O-Lait hot chocolate, a rice crispies circle, and some caramelized almond dipped in chocolate circles (florentines). Later we got some Choc-O-Lait hot chocolate sticks so we could enjoy the same at home (these can be found in many of the shops at Brugge and we even saw them at Harrods in London later). A chocolate shop that we liked was Chocoholic, with its green sign. They had really nice small crunchy chocolate pearl balls.

Chocolate Dipped Oranges

Choc - O - Lait Hot Chocolate

At that same shop we asked the staff to recommend a place to eat mussels, as Belgium is known for its chocolate, waffles, mussels, and beer. They recommended ‘t Nieuw Walnutje, and so we trekked there in search of a nice lunch. We ordered 2 pots of mussels – one white wine with cream and garlic and the other mussel provencal, with a tomato base sauce. Our lunch was very delicious, and, though in the pictures they both look the same, we liked the mussels in white wine sauce better.

Mussels in Provencal Sauce

I love the medieval buildings in Brugge, and the food and segway tour only made it better. It is a small town but one that is definitely worth seeing.

Canal

Celebrity Eclipse, Northern Europe Cruise, Summer 2011

In Baltics on July 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

A while back our family enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise, and we thought: ¬†wouldn’t it be nice if we were to visit the Scandinavian countries and Baltics too? ¬†With a cruise, we can get a taste of the different countries in the region within a short period of time, with the additional benefit of not having to deal with flights, hotels and luggages. ¬†Sure, you can’t truly get to know a place in one day or two, but the variety is enticing. ¬†So this summer I went with my parents on just such a cruise, with the Celebrity Eclipse ship. The ports we visited were Bruges-Belgium, Warnemunde-Germany, Helsinki-Finland, St. Petersburg-Russia, Tallinn-Estonia, Stockholm-Sweden, and Copenhagen-Denmark.

Here are some pictures of the ship and its facilities:

Our Ship! Celebrity Eclipse; taken at Tallinn, the best port to get a clear view of the ship

Sky Suite 2151, Left Most Corner below Oceanview Cafe and Bar

Our Room:

Our Suite: a Sky Suite in the aft

Bathroom

Shower

Bed is near the balcony

Sofa bed can also be arranged.

Lots of Closet Space!

Balcony - great for afternoon tea

Sunset at Sea

The facilities:

Solarium: Indoor Swimming Pool

Outdoor Swimming Pool & Jacuzzi

Lawn

Basketball Court

Below is the main dining room.  The dining room looks beautiful, but unfortunately, we found that the food here to be unsatisfactory Рsoup was often too salty, meat and fish were often too tough, and the rest of the dishes tasteless.  If you were to eat here though, order the seafood or pasta dish Рthe scallops they come with are big and cooked well, and the shrimps are firm. Sometimes we even found the buffet to be better.

Moonlight Sonata: Dining Room

Moonlight Sonata: Dining Room

Casino

There isn’t much organization in the library, but it’s a good place just to pick up a book to read. ¬†I would recommend bringing your own book though.

Library

We didn’t try this bar, but it serves “molecular” type drinks.

Molecular Bar

Le Regalade, Paris

In Baltics, Paris on July 7, 2011 at 12:54 am

Le Regalade is a little bistro-type restaurant known for it’s “hearty”, country-style meals. Though the portion sizes were a little big the food was fulfilling in every way, and we really enjoyed it.

Le Regalade

After ordering we were given a tray of homemade chicken pate and a jar of gherkins along with our bread basket of baguettes. The chicken pate was beautiful – not too processed, with some chunks, and a nice fresh-chicken taste to it. It was so good that we almost finished it before the appetizers came (we were ravenous by the time dinner came along).

Chicken Pate

Gherkins

We had chosen a three-course set for ‚ā¨45. For my appetizer I had a squid-ink risotto with prawn and pancetta – this was my favorite. The risotto was quite light and not too creamy.

Squid-ink Risotto with prawn, pancetta, and crisp olive leaves

I had come on this trip with 2 close friends of mine, and one ordered a cool tomato gazpacho, with crabmeat and a drizzle of olive oil. This dish was very soothing and a little colder than normal.

Tomato Gazpacho

My other friend chose a dish that was on the blackboard special – white asparagus topped with melted cheese, tomato, and fresh coriander. Though the asparagus was cooked well this dish was nothing too special.

White Asparagus with Melted Cheese

My friend who chose the tomato gazpacho also ordered a codfish atop a spinach salad for her main course. This codfish was very juicy and tender, and the salad was dotted with some tomatoes and pinenuts.

Light Codfish atop Spinach Salad

My personal favorite main course was the extremely tender braised veal shoulder that sat in a light meat reduction and was topped by a hill of chopped tomatoes and olives. This dish wasn’t too heavy, but it did come with 2 cuts of veal, and though I really enjoyed it I only managed to eat 1 of the pieces.

Tender Braised Veal Shoulder in Meat Reduction

The pork belly we ordered was also very nice – it had a nice crispy skin and went well with the slightly creamy lentils. It also had some sausage to compliment. That was very salty (and the pork belly itself was salty enough).

Pork Belly with Creamy Lentils

For desserts one of us ordered a classic Grand Marnier Souffle, which was excellent. When it was brought out I was surprised at the size of the souffle – it was huge. But it was a perfect souffle, and very light.

Grand Marnier Souffle

We also ordered a rhubarb compote which included a layer of quite sour lemon and apples, and topped with crumbs.

Rhubarb Compote

I ordered a traditional rice pudding which came in a cute jar with a wooden spoon so you could take as much as you wanted. The pudding itself was very thick and creamy, which I liked, and the caramel had the perfect consistency and sweetness. The rice pudding was my favorite dessert, though it was a classic.

Rice Pudding with Caramel Sauce on the side

My friends and I really enjoyed the classic, simply good-tasting food that Le Regalade had to offer, and the next time I venture to Paris I’ll be certain to dine here again.

Angelina’s Famous Mont-Blanc a Disappointment – 226 Rue de Rivoli, Paris

In Baltics, Paris on July 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I’m back! Though we flew to London, our first real stop was at Paris. We wanted to try three patisseries: Angelina’s, Pierre Herme, and La P√Ętisserie des R√™ves (but only ended up trying one).

We chose Angelina’s as it was the closest to our hotel, the Park Hyatt Vendome, and we wanted a quick snack. They were famous for their mont-blanc, and we were excited to have our first taste (on this trip) of Parisian desserts.

Cakes at Angelina

The mont-blanc was extremely heavy. Compared to the light Japanese mont-blancs that we were used to, Angelina’s mont-blanc was incomparable. I had not eaten lunch that day yet, and because of the time difference had already skipped a few meals – but still I could not finish one piece of Angelina’s mont-blanc cake.

Mont-Blancs

The taste of the cake was pretty good, and I liked the thick layer of cream and meringue. However we found that the chesnut paste on top was too thick and too sweet.

Cake Packaging

Mont-Blanc

After this taste at Angelina’s we had no stomach for more desserts. I would recommed trying La P√Ętisserie des R√™ves, their pastries look pretty good (or at least their website does: http://www.lapatisseriedesreves.com/).

Angelina’s website: http://www.angelina-paris.fr/