Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Cook's Guide on Food


Whether making the perfect Sunday roast, the juiciest steak or the meatiest lasagne, beef holds a special place with cooks and consumers alike for its deep flavours and rich textures.


Humans have been baking bread since ancient times, yet many people today think of it as something that has to be purchased from a shop. In fact bread is very easy to make at home. Follow our guide for all the information you need, then follow our simple recipes.

Cakes and baking

Making cakes is all about chemical reactions but you don't need to understand the science of baking in order to produce a cake.


Chocolate is inextricably linked with delectable decadence. Its irresistible flavour and melt-in-the-mouth texture make it a delicious indulgence. This product of the cacao tree is used in all kinds of recipes: sweets, cakes and biscuits, desserts, sauces and even some savoury dishes.


Milk, cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt, buttermilk – the list goes on. Dairy products are the cornerstone of baking, vital to hundreds of sauces, and desserts would be a desert without them.


Eggs are a useful source of protein, iodine and many essential vitamins and are almost indispensable to the cook.


Fish is good for us. So good that we should eat a lot more of it.

Food safety

There are 70,000 to 80,000 food poisoning cases reported in the UK each year, and potentially millions of cases that go unrecorded. Sticking to some simple rules of hygiene in the kitchen can help you avoid this danger.


Fruit is where all the energies and efforts of nature go to provide the seasons' kaleidoscope of flavour and colour. Sweet or tart, fresh fruit is the joy of any cook.


Game has a lengthy tradition in Britain and there's been renewed interest in it recently, as farmed game has become more widely available, and the rich flavours and lean meat have won fans among gourmets and the health conscious.

Herbs and salads

We've come a long way since parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme were the typical herbs for the kitchen. Nowadays, supermarkets are likely to have fresh coriander, lemongrass and often more than one variety of basil available, reflecting our love of dishes from around the world.

Knife Skills

Knives are the most essential piece of kit any cook can have and it's important to choose the right knife for the job. You should look after your knives and keep them sharp and they'll last you for years.


British lamb can be found almost all the year round in some good butchers, but its peak season and widest availability is April through to September.

Nuts and seeds

From the ubiquitous peanut to the more seasonal character of the chestnut, nuts provide dishes with flavour, texture and alternative fats and oils.


Culinary oils are extracted from seeds, nuts or, as in the case of olives and avocados, from oil-rich fruits.


Pasta, the essence of the Italian kitchen and noodles, the oriental equivalent, make the perfect base for a quick, tasty meal. They're readily available, easy to store and come in a variety of styles and shapes.


Pastry is easier to make than you may think. Follow a few simple rules, employ a couple of clever tricks, and you'll soon be producing pies, parcels and profiteroles with flair.


Possibly the most versatile of meats, pork comes in a variety of cuts - many of them relatively inexpensive.


Poultry is a popular, often low-fat, source of protein. Chicken, poussin, duck, goose, guinea fowl, quail and turkey provide easy options for both everyday cooking and celebratory meals.


We may no longer 'need' to preserve food as we did in the days before fridges and freezers appeared, but it seems that we're not about to give up the preserving methods learned over thousands of years. From 'dried' pasta to 'smoked' salmon, redcurrant 'jelly' to strawberry 'jam', different methods of preserving are still used in abundance in the food we enjoy today.

Pulses and soya

Peas, beans and lentils, collectively known as pulses, come in dozens of varieties with a host of flavours and textures. Pulses make a comforting and filling ingredient for winter dishes - they also successfully thicken soups and casseroles and soak up flavours well. They're good with rich ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, chillies and Indian spices.


Rice and grains are the staple food for much of the world's population. They are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, and in some cases protein.

Savoury sauces

A tasty sauce can transform a dish from plain fare to pure pleasure, yet making one can be as simple as adding a few drops of wine or vinegar to a pan after frying meat.


Most shellfish is easy to cook and is rich in minerals and bursting with flavour.

Spices and flavourings

Every continent and cuisine benefits from some variety of spice.

Stocks and Soups

The French word for stock - fond, meaning foundation - highlights the belief that fresh stocks are the basis of good cooking. Many of us rely on cubes and powders, but it's easy to make proper stock at home.


Whether they're roots roasted for sweetness, greens stir-fried or steamed, boiled as the base of stocks or sautéed as a starter for sauces, vegetables are the versatile fundamentals of the kitchen.

Source: BBC

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chicken Curry and Onion Bread

Here's a recipe for a delicious Chicken Curry courtesy of Faridah Begum of The Star. Chicken curry goes well not only with hot plain rice. You can also have bread to go along with it or even pancakes. Besides the recipe for Chicken Curry, you will also find a recipe for making Onion Pancakes or Onion Bread as it is called.

Favourite Chicken Curry

1 chicken – cut into 12 pieces

5cm ginger and 6 cloves garlic – pounded finely or blended with a little water

3 tablespoon cooking oil

1 onion – sliced

2 sprigs curry leaves

3 tablespoons meat curry powder

2 tablespoons kurma curry powder

Salt to taste

1/2 can evaporated milk

1 cup coconut cream

2 cups water

3 potatoes – cut into four

A few sprigs coriander leaves

2 tomatoes – cut into wedges

3 red chillies – halved and seeded


Heat the cooking oil and saute the onion, curry leaves and ginger paste until aromatic.

Add in the curry powders, salt and a little water to form a paste. Let the paste cook, stirring constantly until the oil surfaces and the paste thickens. Add the chicken pieces and fry for a minute or two. When the chicken is well coated, add the evaporated milk, coconut cream and remaining water. Let the curry come to a boil. Once it boils, add the potatoes and lower the flame a little. Cook until the potatoes soften, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another five minutes.

(A tip: This curry tastes and looks better if cooked several hours before serving.)

Quick Onion Bread

2 cups plain flour

1 egg

Salt to taste

1 onion – sliced

2 spring onions – sliced finely.



In a bowl, place the flour and make a well in the centre. Put the egg and salt, then add water slowly as you bind the flour, egg and salt into a batter. Make up with water for a runny consistency, then add the onion and spring onions. For a spicier flavour, add sliced chillies. Allow the batter to rest for about half-an-hour.

Heat up a griddle, oil it and pour over it half a cupful of batter. Cook until the batter thickens and resembles pancake. Flip the bread, then fold in two. Serve hot with the chicken curry.

Source: The Star

Room Eighteen, a new trendy restaurant in Petaling Jaya

Malaysia is never short of places to eat as new food outlets seem to be mushrooming up everywhere. One of the latest joints is Room Eighteen located in Tropicana City Mall, Petaling Jaya. It officially opened on April 1.

Room Eighteen with its trendy concept is targeting a younger market craving for dim sum and roasted meats though the restaurant is also ideal for the general clientele of families with children and the working crowd.

Recommended items by the Room Eighteen chefs are the Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai dumplings), Crispy Egg Tart, Pan-Fried Pork Dumpling, Fried Venison with Black Pepper, and Pork Ribs Congee with Dried Oyster.

In conjunction with its opening, the restaurant is offering several promotions until April 18. The promotions include:

- an 18% discount on a la carte items,
- a RM1.80 voucher for the selected dish of the day for the first 50 walk-in customers daily, and,
- a free set lunch for the first 18 customers dining in daily.

For enquiries, call 03-7728 8128.

Source: The Star..A place for the younger crowd