Friday 28 January 2011

The Unicycle Diaries 6: Kuala Lumpur Snapshots

Was looking through my records and came across this diary scrap from a media trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in early 2009. Add some photos and - bingo! - instant blog post. Hope you enjoy it...

Friday 6 February 2009

- Visit to Thean Hou, a big Taoist temple, decorated with lots of colourful figures for Chinese New year.

- Lunch at Menara KL, allegedly the fourth tallest tower in world, though a little shorter than the Petronas Towers. Revolving restaurant, choice of Malay or Western food. Lots of excellent choices involving curries, roti etc. Also desserts with a twist, like soupy durian and a creme caramel with strips of banana baked on the top.

- Visited the amazing Starlight Gallery mall on Bukit Bintang. Was sceptical at first (not being a keen shopper), but its Feast level was impressive. It's a ritzy type of food hall, borrowing the hawkers' traditions and giving them the five star treatment.

The architecture draws largely on traditional Malay designs but uses unusual perspectives and arrangements to give them a thoroughly modern look. Wandering through Feast, down defined walkways that only reveal the next eatery once you’ve passed the previous one, is like walking through an Aladdin's Cave - dimly lit, cool, full of gleaming treasure.

- Skybar at Traders Hotel, 32nd floor. Spectacular! Has an open roof so the afternoon tropical rain falls through into the swimming area. Along the side are cushioned alcoves right up against the glass windows looking across to the Petronas Towers. Had a swim, then sat in alcove with a very nice martini and a book, occasionally glancing at the view.

- Staff at the hotel have the balance just right - they’re attentive and efficient without ever seeming obsequious. Being among Malaysians makes me feel cheerful, they're generally relaxed and open people. And you can't fault the view...

Tim Richards travelled courtesy of Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines.

Friday 21 January 2011

Tea for Dessert in the High Country

Tea for afters, anyone?

In last week's blog post, Naomi Ingleton of The Butter Factory in Myrtleford shared her recipes for goat stew and strawberry and buttermilk panna cotta

But she's not finished yet. For that clean, sweet finish to a memorable meal, try whipping up this memorable parfait... 

Green Tea Parfait

2 tablespoons green tea powder
4 tablespoons milk
500ml cream
5 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
30ml vodka
Juice of 1 lime
1 Granny Smith apple
1 cup caster sugar

Make a paste with the green tea powder and milk.

Beat cream until thick, then refrigerate.

Line a terrine tray with cling film (I find it helps to lightly oil the tray and push the wrap into the corners).

Place 300g sugar and water in a pot and bring to 130°C.

Whisk egg whites to a stiff peak.

When sugar reaches the above temperature, add the lime juice and vodka and bring to boil again. Slowly add this to egg whites, keep whisking until egg white mix cools (about 5 minutes).

Add green tea paste to the egg whites and mix thoroughly, gently fold in the cream. Place in the mould and freeze overnight.

Slice the apples very thinly and brush with lemon juice. Place on a wire rack and put in a cool oven for at least 8 hours, until dry.

Make a caramel with the sugar and dip the apple chips into the liquid caramel and put straight into iced water to set, remove immediately and drain on rack.

Unmould and slice parfait to desired size, and place apple chips on top. Serve immediately.


Guest recipe blogger Naomi Ingleton is owner and chef at The Butter Factory, 15 Myrtle St, Myrtleford. 

To read my article on the food and wine of Victoria's High Country region in the January 2011 issue of Virgin Blue's inflight magazine, click here (then jump to page 62).

[Photo credit: By たね, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Friday 14 January 2011

The Goat in the Pot in the High Country

Lick your lips! In the course of researching a feature article on the fantastic food and wine of Victoria's High Country region, I contacted wunderchef Naomi Ingleton of The Butter Factory in Myrtleford to ask if I could reprint a few of her recipes. 

In the end, the magazine I was writing for didn't use them - but Naomi has kindly given me permission to reproduce them here. Fire up the stove, get out the olive oil... and don't forget to pick up goat for our very first dish...

Nug Nug Goat Stew with Grilled Vegetables & Spaetzle


500g primal goat cuts, diced
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 bulls horn peppers, red
2 green zucchini
½ cup fresh green peas
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1 litre goat or chicken stock

1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk

In a heavy based pot fry onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Add goat and fry until browned, deglaze with white wine. Add the stock and bay leaf, cover and simmer until meat is tender, add the peas at the end.

Halve and seed the peppers, quarter the zucchini and grill.

To make the spaetzle, sift the dry ingredients, make a well in the middle and combine with the milk and eggs. If you do not have a spaetzle maker (like a cheese grater with a dough catcher) you can use a piping bag over hot water to make the little dumplings.

To serve the stew, add a little of the noodles to a bowl, drape the stew over the top and arrange the grilled vegetables.

And for dessert...

Strawberry & Buttermilk Panna Cotta

500ml buttermilk
250ml cream
3 gelatine leaves
¼ cup strawberry puree
2 tablespoons sugar
Strawberries for garnish

Soak the gelatine leaves in water to soften, do not use hot water. Warm the buttermilk (if you do not have access to buttermilk use pouring cream instead), cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan and add the softened gelatine.

Mix in the berry puree and pour into Dariole moulds, or you could use teacups if you do not have the moulds. Refrigerate overnight.

Run a small knife around the edge of the mould and gently tip the set panna cotta onto a plate. You can decorate with some berry coulis or just the strawberries.

Guest recipe blogger Naomi Ingleton is owner and chef at The Butter Factory, 15 Myrtle St, Myrtleford. 

To read my article on the food and wine of Victoria's High Country region in the January 2011 issue of Virgin Blue's inflight magazine, click here (then jump to page 62).