Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Potatoes, potato chips and french fries

Potatoes are nutritious so one would assume that any french fries and potato chips would be too. Unfortunately, this is not true as chips and french fries are now believed to be unhealthy from a study indicating that very young children who eat French fries frequently have a much higher risk of breast cancer as adults. Read article: Children who eat fries raise breast cancer risk

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Waiter in New York City

Stumbled on this interesting blog by a waiter from New York City.
He's funny and entertaining. You'll appreciate the life of a waiter
more as well as learn stuff about waiting at tables.

Only female contestant bags grand win

Siti proud winner – Siti does her hotel proud with the recent win.
The Star

THE only female contestant in a recent culinary contest bagged the top prize and left her all-male opponents awestruck.

Second Commis Siti Arini Darso made headlines at the hotel she works with, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel when she became the maestro in the 2005 Best Commis Rotisseur Competion.
The win will take Siti to Bermuda in September to display her skills at the Inter-national Competition.

There were two stages to the competition, held at Sunway College.

The first was a menu-writing competition held at Westin Hotel Kuala Lumpur where she competed with 30 others before moving to the second stage.

The second leg was a practical cooking session on modern fusion where participants were evaluated on presentation, taste and style.

Combining Asian and Classic cooking prepared a three-course meal that included appetiser Pan-seared Duck Liver Millefeuille, main course Oven-Baked Pigeon en Croute and Chocolate Risotto stuffed in Sugar Bird’s Nest for dessert.

Siti attributes her success to Joeri Schreurs, Med@Marche’s chef de cuisine.

A keen learner, Siti hopes to continue expanding her knowledge in the culinary art and hone her skills through her daily work with the hotel.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Seafood - Cockles

I enjoy cockles. It is an acquired taste really. I like them raw either in curry laksa or in char koay teow or just by themselves dipped in a chili sauce of chillies and garlic with lime juice added.

Many of us do not know how cockles are farmed. It is hard work for
the farmers, if you could call them that.

Read The Star's story..For most farmers, it is a big haul
Photos by JOEL CHAN
The Star

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Champagne, Wine or Beer?

Many of us are not too concerned or simply ignorant about picking the right beverage to go along with the right food. It is said that having the right beverage or drink does enhance the taste of the food. The article below on "Choosing Bottles to Face the Heat" is enlightening.

Published: August 17, 2005
The NY Times

WHAT do Thai, Japanese and Chinese food have in common? Not to mention Indian and Mexican food, Middle Eastern andHaitian, and, as long as we're at it, barbecue?
When deciding what to drink with any of these cuisines, the reflex is usually to grab a beer. Or a Coke. Or water - lots ofwater.

I have no problem with any of those choices. Beer in particular is especially appealing with all of these cuisines, although mostrestaurants serving these foods have been the absolute last to discover the world of great craft beers.

Wine - the right wine - can go beautifully with any of these foods. It's not necessarily better than beer, but if you love wine whyshouldn't you be able to enjoy it with Thai, Haitian and anything else? The key is choosing the right wine, because when you aredealing with foods that are forcefully spiced, and often with lots of chili heat, many wines can easily be overwhelmed.
It's understandable that people rarely select wine with any of these cuisines. These foods do not come from wine-making regions. They are made for beer or even whiskey.

Cultural attitudes can also play a role. As Americans are in the habit of associating beverages with social aspirations, well, let'sjust say that you have a better chance of finding wine at a Nascar race than you do at a barbecue pit.

So what is the right wine to go along with these foods? More often than not, it's Champagne. No wine, believe it or not, is asversatile with so wide a range of food as Champagne, and that especially includes foods that are assertively spiced. Chickenchaat with chili, cilantro and that icy feeling in the top of your mouth that comes from coarsely ground Indian black salt?Champagne is your baby. Griot, the Haitian dish of pork chunks that are marinated in vinegar, chili and lemon juice, then fried?You won't go wrong with Champagne. Sichuan twice-cooked pork? Champagne, definitely.

Champagne is a great choice with sushi. And if you go to Blue Smoke in Manhattan, a barbecue pit mutated into an urban NewYork restaurant, where you will actually find a wine list, go directly to the Billecart-Salmon. It's the perfect, and perfectly ironic,choice with the smoky pulled pork. Can it be mere affectation that R.U.B., the barbecue joint on West 23rd Street, offers DomPérignon with its Taste of the Baron, a big sampler special for two, all for $275? Well, maybe it can, but if money's no object,you would not be sorry.

On first glance, it's obvious why Champagne would go so well with beer cuisines. It's the bubbles. But that doesn't explain all ofit. Cava and prosecco have bubbles, but they don't have the intensity of Champagne. California sparkling wine has bubbles, butit often is a little too heavy to refresh. I recently tried a sparkling shiraz from Australia with falafel and hummus with hot sauce,and frankly, I wish I had used more hot sauce to drown out the thick, sweet yet bitter flavor of the shiraz. No, the bubbles areimportant, but Champagne also has a crucial element that the other sparkling wines too often lack: high acidity.

Acidity gives wine snap and zest. It gives it a sense of freshness and helps to stimulate the palate. Even sweet wines, like aGerman riesling auslese, when balanced by acidity, can be thoroughly refreshing. Good acidity in a wine is essential if it is toaccompany foods that aren't typically thought of as good with wine.

Thai food is generally ceded to the beer camp. It's hard to beat a great pilsner with a spicy Thai curry, but you know what? Agood Bourgueil comes awfully close. Bourgueil, a village in Touraine on the Loire, produces reds from the cabernet franc grapethat can be raspy with acidity, but when the acidity is balanced by sufficient fruit you have a delicious wine. Are Bourgueils,along with similar wines from the neighboring villages of Chinon and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, great wines? No, but they aregreat food wines.

If you don't believe me, have a meal at Holy Basil, a Thai restaurant in the East Village. Pimnapa Suntatkolkarn, the chef and anowner, has constructed a wine list that I wish could be a model for every moderately priced restaurant, and she always offers agood Loire red. At a meal there I tried a 2002 Bourgueil "Les Galichets" from Catherine and Pierre Breton, as well as a 1995 Rioja Reserva from López de Heredia. The Rioja is wonderful, and about twice the price of the Bourgueil, but with a pungent,tart yet balanced dish like crisp duck with panang curry and kaffir lime? The Rioja had no business on the table. The Bourgueil,though, was perfect - refreshing and stimulating. The Rioja no doubt would receive a higher score in a blind tasting, but at aThai dinner, the Bourgueil blew it away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Diners enjoy bigger savings when eating out

Diners enjoy a maximum of 70% discount from their total bill when dining using the Flavors card.

The Star

THE recent introduction of a new discount card called Flavors will mean bigger savings for diners in the Klang Valley.

Targeted at diners who eat-out frequently, Flavors offers up to 70% discount from the total dining bills at more than 70 selected outlets in the Klang Valley.

Priced at RM48 apiece the card is valid for 18 months and expires on Oct 31 next year.

Flavors is available to Malaysians and foreigners alike. Customers enjoy unlimited visits to the participating outlets within the card's validity period.

A majority of the participating outlets are located within the city centre although those in areas like Ampang, Bangsar, Damansara, Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya and Kajang are also in the list.

Flavors has been circulating in the Klang Valley since May this year and more outlets will be added into the list.

It's easy to sign up as a cardholder and one of the ways was by logging on to www.flavorscard.com

Read story: Diners enjoy bigger savings when eating out

Friday, August 12, 2005

Post-funeral meals

Came across this interesting article on post-funeral meals of the different ethnic groups. Did you know that in New York, food is not allowed to be taken to the funeral home? The New York state law prohibits the "preparation, sale, service, or distribution of food or beverages in any part of a funeral establishment to or by friends, relatives, mourners, family, visitors or next of kin of any deceased person."

He Would've Wanted Everyone to Eat
Published: August 10, 2005
The NY Times

VERTAMAE GROSVENOR said she always wondered why she and her relatives ate so much after funerals.
"Even people on diets just ate plate after plate," Ms. Grosvenor, a cultural correspondent for National Public Radio, said about postfuneral meals in South Carolina, where she grew up. "My theory was, we ate so much because that's how we knew we were alive."

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Funeral meals have always meant to assuage grief and to honor the dead and their beliefs about the hereafter. In America these meals also reflect ethnicity, health trends, state law and contemporary funeral practices.

But feeding the grieving also has a fundamental aim, said Dr. Holly Prigerson, a bereavement specialist.
"You can't be noshing when something's chasing you," said Dr. Prigerson, director of research at the Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School. She said C. S. Lewis was right when he wrote, "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."

Read article: He Would've Wanted Everyone to Eat