Thursday, June 18, 2015

Franco @ 1Utama

From top left clockwise: Lobster bisque pasta, signature French toast, spaghetti yumeina, macha souffle, squid ink rice.
Where I work, management has given each team a quarterly budget, to be used as an incentive to bring everyone out for a good makan session, and just get away from the office for a while. This quarter, just before the fasting month kicked in, I brought this incentive up to my team and said "Let's go MAKAN!"

We decided to head to Franco @ 1Utama (formerly known as Miam Mian), a French-Japanese cafe with a charming ambiance and fusion food. Reading the reviews online also helped us decide on the location.

The lobster bisque pasta was delicious, flavourful and seasoned nicely. Did you say lobster? GST-exempt?! That's not lobster meat on top of the pasta, that's just one large tiger prawn. The other pasta dishes we had were also quite unique in its flavour, although I found the tomato based pastas a little sweet for my liking. The squid ink rice was rather different, wasn't sure what sort of rice they used to make the dish. Good thing I wasn't wearing black that day.

For dessert, I ordered their signature French toast and macha souffle, and both didn't disappoint. I especially liked the macha souffle, left a really warm feeling in my tummy.

The overall experience in Franco is good, though I have to caution you, the prices there are a little on the steep side for pastas (RM 25 and above). The lobster bisque paste was RM 38++, and desserts were above RM12. Fortunately, they too offer lunch sets on weekdays to attract the working crowd, and at RM19.90++ for the lunch set (one main + one drink), I think that's pretty decent considering the rise in living cost these days (that's another story altogether).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Salmon Teriyaki

We've had the opportunity to buy a whole salmon from the newly opened Village Grocer @ Atria, Damansara Jaya. We couldn't resist the promotional price they were offering (whole fish for RM35.90/kilo), so we whacked one large fish back home. We had requested they fillet the whole fish for us, which makes for easier storage and cooking! I'm going to share a salmon teriyaki recipe, which I learnt from Gordon Ramsay.

Salmon fillet for two
2cm ginger finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbps soy sauce
1.5 tbps maple syrup (I didn't have maple syrup with me, so I used honey)
1 tbps mirin
Some olive oil

In a bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup/honey and mirin together. This is going to be your teriyaki marinade. Clean and pat dry the salmon fillet, and place them into a deep dish. Pour the marinade over and cover with cling wrap, marinate for up to two hours (or at least 20mins). I had  marinated it overnight, Which got me a little worried as I was worried if the fish might get too salty overnight. It didn't taste salty, but I think the next time I cook this dish, I'll marinate it for 2 hours max to try how the flavour would be like.

In a pan, heat up some olive oil and when the oil is hot enough, place the salmon skin side down onto the pan and sear it. After a few minutes, pour the remaining marinade on top and allow the salmon to cook until it's opaque halfway. Flip it over and cook for a few more minutes until the fish is done. Serve with a hot bowl of rice and some vegetables.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Risotto with Pork Broth, Bacon, Mushrooms and Carrots

Image from Google
Do you like risotto? We like it, and I used to buy the pre-pack risottos from the supermarket. The ones where the rice is already parboiled, and all you add is just water, and stir it for about 15mins for the rice to fully cook. The brand Scotti is easily found in major supermarket chains, and I used to buy them whenever I felt like having risotto at home. One day I decided to make risotto from scratch, you know, experimenting in the kitchen. Since learning about making risotto from scratch, I have not bought a ready mix :P

Arborio rice is unlike your usual white jasmine rice. It is an Italian short grain rice, and you don't have to rinse it because you will wash of the starch, and you will want that starch when making risotto. Riso means rice in Italian. If you're not into starchy rice, you can substitute arborio rice with brown rice.

1 cup arboria rice (for two pax)
1 tbps butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced.
1 medium size yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 slices of bacon, cut into smaller bits
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, diced (or use white/swiss brown mushrooms)
1 litre pork broth (I used Knorr pork cubes. You can use any kind of broth)

Pan fry the bacon, then set aside.
Heat up some butter and olive oil in a deep pan or glass pot. Add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant. Then add the arborio rice, be sure to stir it to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. Add a cup of white wine here if you wish, but I didn't have any white wine when I was making this dish, so I skipped it. Keep stirring the rice to allow it to absorb all that butter olive oil garlic essence for a few minutes. Then, spoon a ladle of broth into the rice, and keep stirring it. When the rice is looking dry, add another ladle of broth. The rice will take 20-30 minutes cook, hence the occasional stirring. When the rice is near done, add the carrots and mushrooms, and a sprinkle of black pepper to taste. Dish and serve.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Honey Soy Sauce Chicken Wings

Yes it's been a while since my last recipe post, I've been busy and lazy, neglecting my blog yes I know. I'll make it up to you by sharing this honey soy sauce chicken wings recipe, because it's just so easy and yummy to make! credits to Rasa Malaysia.

5 pcs chicken wings (split into two: wings and drummet - you get 10pcs after splitting them, good for two pax)

1 tbps soy sauce
1 tbps rice wine
1/4 tbps sesame oil
1 inch ginger, finely minced
A dash of white pepper

Glaze (cook the glaze until the liquid thickens)
1.5 tbps honey
1 tbps soy sauce
1/2 tbps mirin
1/2 rice wine

Pat dry the chicken wings and marinade them at least 30 minutes or overnight. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C for 20 minutes, lay the chicken wings onto an oven proof tray . Bake the wings for 10mins, then brush the glaze on them to continue baking for another 10mins. Continue this step until the chicken wings are a little charred (not burnt). Remove from the oven and sprinkle white sesame seeds on top for garnishing.

If you don't want to use the oven for this recipe, you can pan fry the wings until golden brown. Set the wings aside, and in another clean pan, heat up the glaze until it thickens. As the sauce thickens, place back the wings into the pan and coat evenly. Sprinkle white sesame seeds on the wings and serve.