Monday, August 31, 2009

How I spent Merdeka? Concorde Wedding Lunch!

Mrs Looi Chin Pong, my colleague from way back Cheras Road School (and for a spell, Convent Peel Road) looking happy and resplendent because her son is getting married!

Lawrence and Sui Ping got married earlier in March in England (see slide grabs)and came back for a traditional ceremony held at Concorde Hotel. Sitting at my table: Mr and Mrs Fung, Pn Cheong or Chin from SAB now Sri Mulia, also Cheras Scho once, Mr and Mrs Chiang, me, Marion Loh and her husband... I took notes of the decor and prepare for my daughter's wedding...hint, hint...HINT!!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Free Trip : Bai Pai Thai Cooking Tour, 2005

Welcome You To
Bangkok, Thailand.
08 - 10 March, 2005


08-Mar ( Tue ) K. Lumpur / Bangkok TG 416 1320 / 1425 2.05 hrs
10-Mar ( Thu ) Bangkok / K.Lumpur TG 417 1555 / 1905 2.10 hrs

Tour Manager : Mr Alan Yuen ( Mobile No. +6012 - 226 5551 )
Departure Flight : TG 416 ( from KLIA )
Departure Date : 08 Mar 2005 ( Tuesday )
Departure Time : 1320 hrs ( 1.20 PM )
Check-in Time : 1120 hrs ( 11.20 AM )
Check-in Counter : Level 5, Row G

Please remember to bring your PASSPORT (with a validity of minimum 6 months from the date of departure) !

Weather : Low 25C / High 32C
Time Zones : One (1) hour behind Malaysia Time

Amari Watergate Hotel
847 Petchburi Road, Pratunam Rajthevee
Bangkok 10400 – BANGKOK
Tel : (662) 653 9000 Fax : (662) 653 9044


08 Mar 05 ( Tuesday )
Day 01 K.LUMPUR / BANGKOK TG 416 1320 / 1430 ( D )
1120 hrs Check-in at KLIA Sepang.
1320 hrs Flight departs KLIA to Bangkok.
1425 hrs Upon arrival at Bangkok Proceed to Immigration & Custom formalities.
1500 hrs Meet & greet by our local tour guide.
1515 hrs Transferred to the hotel for check in.
1830 hrs Assemble in the evening for Dinner Cruise on board the Chao Phraya Princess. Enjoy the sights and landmarks of the city while you dine.
  After dinner,free & easy.

09 Mar 05 ( Wednesday )
0730 hrs Breakfast at hotel.
0830 hrs Culinary demonstration & cooking session at Baipai Thai Cooking School.
1300 hrs Enjoy lunch tastefully prepared during the session.
1400 hrs Return to hotel. Free and easy.
1900 hrs Meet in the evening at the hotel for dinner
  “ Thai dinner at Bann Khun Mae “ restaurant.
  After dinner, free and easy.

10 Mar 05 ( Thursday )
Day 04 BANGKOK / K.LUMPUR TG 417 1555 / 1905 ( B )
0830 hrs Breakfast in hotel.
  Free & easy for your own leisure and actitivites.
1100 hr Check-out from hotel.
1130 hr Proceed to Airport.
1330 hr Arrival airport for your flight check-in.
1555 hr Flight departs Bangkok to K.Lumpur.
1905 hr Arrival KLIA Sepang.

In 2005 I went on an all-expense paid, 3 day 2 night culinary tour of Bangkok sponsored by Astro.  (The above was the itinerary sent to us). Before that we took part in a cooking contest at Rohani Jelani's designer kitchen, and wonder of wonders! my group won!!  So we found ourselves booked on a Bai Pai cooking trip, Rohani also came along!!!

This is my room...check out the well stocked junk food drawer!!

My room-mate did not turn up so I had the room to myself.
On board the Chao Phraya Princess, having a floating buffet, while cruising down the Menam Chao Phraya. With me is Boey Ping Ping a free lance journalist who is a winner, too.
 A crew from Astro shooting the food.
My group: Boey Ping Ping, me and the woman doctor who studied at Manipal, and Rohani Jelani, the food stylist.
Our delegate from Malaysia. The Malay woman brought along her 16 year old daughter, and their next stop was London to watch Siti Norhaliza perform at (what hall I forgot) Lucky girl eh?
The cooking school was not even a building, just a compound fenced up and cleverly fashioned into an open concept type of kitchen.

We learned to cook a few dishes: a rice dish, Mango salad, green curry,Tom yam soup of course and dessert. The instructor spoke quite passable English!
We had our own cooking space, ingredients all laid out and learning Thai dishes from a Thai in Thailand itself: how authentic can it be???
This place even had a visitors' lounge, a reception and a well equipped office!!
Then we sat down and sampled what we cooked!

Later in the evening we went for dinner but was caught in a massive jam that made KL's jam looked a kampung jam caused by buffaloes crossing the road!

The dinner was worth the wait (actually the restaurant was just opposite the road but the jam made it seem like it was the other side of town.
If you eat thai food here, you will not treat thai food the same again in Malaysia.

That night, we even manage to schedule a tiger show followed by thai massage. You should see Rohani, she never took her eyes off what the guy was doing to the girl, or was it what the girl was doing to the boy?????? My view was blocked, so I viewed Rohani's expression instead!!

The next morning we went to the local market and squeezed in some last minute shopping and headed for home. Quite an exciting free trip! Everything paid for!! Including the airport tax! They dished out the currency for us to pay. At KLIA, Rosnah fetched me back to KL!! I took no pay leave for this!! (I have never taken any leave before!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Expat August Wine Dinner at Xenri D'Garden

Clinking glasses with Joey Tan (advertising and sales)..we looked deliriously happy : so much bubbly, so little time!

Every month in my inbox mail, I will recieve the latest's month expat wine dinner invite........(this is this month's): .........
You're Invited to a Sit Down Dinner -
Xenri D'Garden Restaurant
Menara Hap Seng, KL
Our August 2009 Wine Evening

Date : Thursday, 27th August 2009
Time : 7pm to around 10.30pm
Address : Xenri D'Garden Restaurant
No 2-04, Second Floor Podium Block of Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P.Ramlee, KL.

The scarcity of clutter in Xenri D'Garden Terrace allows the subtleties and nuances of the seasonally driven cuisine to sing out loud and clear.

Be it food, service or ambience, you can be sure you would not be disappointed.
This is Japanese cuisine taken up a few levels


Edamame & Nori Tempura

Chilled Silk Bean Curd With Marinated Scallop
Amberjack Sashimi
Fresh Oyster With Ponzu Sauce
Stickleback White 2008

Grilled Dish
Grilled Duck Breast With Yuzu Kosho
Dionne Chardonnay, Semillion, Viognier 2008


Oven-baked Sea Catch Tiger Prawn
Fournier, Chardonnay Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France

Main dish
Braised Wagyu Cheek Meat
served With Pumpkin Rice
Denise Special Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Sesame Mochi With Tiramisu
Tempted and appetite whetted, I went, since it was school vac, and what a good time I had!! When I walked into the restaurant this sight greeted me:

The interior : zen marries contemporary chic...since it professes to be of Japanese cuisine taken up a few notches. (this picture from Klue on line)..the rest of the pictures are mine!

Antoinette Perera (manager of operations) was great company! (pardon my red eye...dunno how to lessen red-eye effect on my cammie)

I saw Guat Hong and Barry Shaw at the far end...later I went to their table and Barry gave me the best bear hug  I had ever gotten! Earlier, I saw their daughter Sharina...
I was late and when the appetiser was served, I took some pictures of it but they never turned out in my camera!!! Must be too famished to press the shutter release harder!! So, no pictures of that: I could remember the taste though: soft tofu with chewy scallop, fresh oyster which "one is not enough" I usually slurp off 6 at one go! and yummy sashimi of I don't care what fish, I love sashimi..........
The grilled dish: grilled duck breast with yuzu kosho....being weaned on my Teochew father-in-law's (he cooks it personally) soya sauce infused teochew braised duck, this was a welcome change...the subtle flavours of the fowl could be relished without being masked in sauce...although I have not yet googled what yuzu kosho is..(must be the drizzle of black gravy)

The pumpkin rice that came with the main had chunky bits of pumpkin topped with pumpkin seeds, which I thought was a nice touch as I liked the crunch mixed with the mash..

The entree : oven baked sea catch tiger prawn....true to its promise: "sea catch"!!! it was very fresh indeed!! All of us agreed the creamy topping on top enhanced all the "nuances" of flavours (as stated in the blurb!)...Anne lamented that the portions were too small!!!
The main dish: wagyu cheek beef that was fantastically soft, beefy with  just the right amount of marbled fat distributed in good by itself, we forgot to touch the pumpkin rice that was supposed to accompany it.

As usual, look at the amount of glasses for each person and the different wines we had to sample! It would have been better if the waiter told us what he had just poured and which dish it was supposed to go with.

The other main dish that was offered as an alternative to wagyu beef.

All too soon it was time for dessert: sesame mochi with tiramisu. The mochi was not too sticky and it had streaks of chocolatey cream inside, served with a bamboo pick, the tiramisu in a tiny chocolate cup was that: too tiny!  All in all, a satisfying meal, but like Anne said, the portions were too small, even for me, .....let alone the expats!!!

Bye! Thanks for a great evening, Anne (I love "Antoinette" : great name! so much historical and queenly connotations, you should use it instead of plain Anne!)
This is a last shot of Xenri, before I dashed for my car parked at the Weld. (St Mary School opposite the back of Weld looked so's been ages...and my daughter's all grown up).

As for the wine, I loved it all!!!  I had sips of them all! Sipped only!! If you come with me and offer to drive me home, I will swig it!!

Last night I hit the sack as soon as I reached home!!

Never had such a good night's sleep!!!