Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Roti Canai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Durian pancakes weren't the only food discovery that I made in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.
I also found the slightly less smelly and more addictive Indian-style bread, Roti Canai....
Roti Canai blog - 01

Roti Canai (known as Roti Prata in Singapore) is a light bread that is sold everywhere in Kuala Lumpur.
It is a thin flatbread with a pancake-like texture that is always made fresh and served warm with a spicy curry sauce to dip it in - no butter here!

Kuala Lumpur seems to have developed a real love for bread - I even found a stall selling some real thick West Country loafs!

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What's great about Roti Canai is that it can be eaten any time of day - on its own or as a side dish alongside a curry.
Many locals eat it for breakfast, while we would have it as a mid-afternoon snack.

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Here are the best places in Kuala Lumpur for Roti Canai:
Restoran Nasi Kandar Arraaziq
Jalan Bukit Bintang
24 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Durian Pancakes, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

I visited Kuala Lumpur for the first time last weekend.
Aside from the Battu Caves, shopping and Petronas Towers, I was told that I must try some durian while in town.
Durian is a local speciality fruit that is sold on street corners and is basically Southeast Asia's answer to marmite - you either love it or hate it.
It has a hard shell with spikes that protect the yellow flesh.
It also STINKS. Your hands smell for ages after eating it and everybody around you will stare when you walk around with it or order it in a restaurant - so much so that there are 'No Durian' signs posted in hotel lifts and on public transport.
Although we were hesitant to try this distinctive fruit, we had heard it tasted great in pancakes so we headed to Lai Po Heen restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental where  durian pancakes is one of the chef's specialities.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur review - 02

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur review - 02

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Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur review - 07

It is true what they say about the smell.
I was away from the table when they were served. 
When I returned I thought I could smell a gas leak....'nope, that's the durian'.
It is potent to say the least and we could tell that people on tables around us were giving us weird looks....maybe not one for a first date...

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These tiny little, creamy pancake packages look sweet and innocent but the taste can certainly pack a punch.
It really wasn't what I was expecting and although there was very little durian actually in the pancakes (it was mainly cream) the taste was still very strong and these three pancakes were enough to fill us up for brunch.
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We had a lovely brunch at the Mandarin and I'm pleased that we can say we have tried durian.
Buuuut, I'm not sure I'm a big fan of the fruit - it's potent and has the longest lasting after-taste ever! I'm sure, with time, it is a fruit that I could grow to love, they just need to learn a way to mask that smell!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Banana and Sweet and Salted Almonds - Ice Cream Recipe

Since moving to Singapore there is nothing we love more than to hit the ice cream after dinner.
First we discovered that Crunch ice cream is available here and then we were enticed by the moreish smell of Coldstone Creamery.
We're eating so much of the stuff that I decided to have a go at making it ourselves.

This recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's latest recipe book, It's All Good.
NOTE - I have made a few changes to this recipe, Gwyneth's exact recipe can be found here.

Banana and Almond ice cream recipe - 01
I have always been a big fan of Gwyneth and not just for her acting skills - she has a great lifestyle site, Goop, which shares recipes, fashion tips and homestyle advice.  She has also recently turned her hand to writing cook books.

Her latest book is, just as the title says, all about eating good food.
After a health scare she eliminated a lot of foods from her and her family's diet meaning that the recipes in her book do not include any sugar, gluten and very little dairy but yet are still fun, filling and nutritious.

I love this Banana and Almond Ice Cream recipe and have a constant batch in my freezer to dig in to after dinner.

4 bananas
Finely chopped almonds
Maple Syrup
Almond Milk

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Slice up the bananas and put in the freezer until completely frozen.

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Chop up the almonds.
These will be sprinkled on top of the ice cream so the quantity can depend on how much you like almonds!

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In a bowl, mix together the chopped almonds, two teaspoons of maple syrup and a pinch of salt and leave to one side.

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In a food processor, blend together the frozen banana slices, 120ml almond milk and two tablespoons of maple syrup.
Pour into a container or serve in bowls and sprinkle with the chopped almond mixture.

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Banana and Almond ice cream recipe - 06
I can't recommend Gwyneth's new health book enough, tonight I'm making one of her fish suppers followed with this ice cream dessert.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Homemade Banana Chips

This is the perfect healthy snack recipe - homemade Banana Chips.
They take a while to cook but are really easy to make and end up tasting so much better than shop-bought chips which are covered in all the horrible sugars.

Banana chips recipe - 01

I had been wondering for ages how to make banana chips and didn't realise it was this easy!
I often use bananas in cakes or loafs as a replacement for sugar.
When heated, they produce their own natural sugars and kind of become caramelised making them taste even sweeter.
This is what happens when you make homemade banana chips and they are great to store away as snack or to add to your morning cereal - I have them with muesli.


Heat the oven to 250C for ten minutes.
Cut up the banana slices about 1cm in size and line on a baking tray.  You can do as many as you want, I usually add a few extra in to check how they are cooking.
Turn the oven temperature down to 150C and place the bananas in for 30 minutes.
Check them every thirty minutes gradually turning the temperature down by 50C every time until you get the chips you wanted. 
They dry up pretty quickly and before becoming hard chips they go through a chewy stage which I personally prefer so stop them there.
The key is to keep an eye on them and reduce the temperature as they can suddenly burn.

I'll be posting my healthy muesli recipe soon!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Breakfast: Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Singapore

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.
Wake up, stretch and eat is my motto.
Since moving to Singapore, I have spent my weekends exploring all the funky and retro brunch cafes around the city that are serving up thick New York-style pancakes, French toast and fry ups.
Nothing compares though to Singapore and Malaysia's famous Kaya Toast.
In fact, we wake up half an hour early every Thursday (not sure why Thursday?) and head to Far East Square before work for a set of this deliciously sweet breakfast.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast Singapore - 01
From the outside this breakfast doesn't look too appetizing but delve in to this sweet treat and you will be instantly hooked.
It can't be that bad if the Fashion News Editor of Harper's Bazaar Singapore, Yi Lian Ng, is also raving about it on her blog post for Mulberry.
For the full kaya experience you have to order a set which consists of two soft-boiled eggs with a drop of dark soya sauce and a plate of homemade kaya toast.
You've been warned the kaya toast is addictive!
Kaya is a thick, sweet coconut jam which is made with fragrant pandan leaves, eggs and coconut. 
A LOT of effort goes in to making homemade kaya, with hours of stirring involved.
In Singapore, kaya is served on toasted bread with a thick layer of butter and then dipped into the eggs.
Sounds a little peculiar...but don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
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Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a family run business in Singapore that was set up in 1926.
Moved from it's famous stall in Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre, it is now located between Chinatown and the CBD in Far East Square with franchises throughout Southeast Asia, Dubai and India.
It is normally busy from 7.30am during the week, serving people from all walks of life before they start their day.
A set costs only 4 Singapore dollars (around £2) each - making it a definite attraction for all foodie travellers to the city.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast Singapore - 06

Ya Kun Kaya Toast Singapore - 07

See you there next Thursday?
Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Far East Square, 18 China Street, #01-01, Singapore 049560 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Easy Hot Cross Buns - Easter Recipe

Living in Singapore, I had completely forgot that it is Easter next week until I stumbled upon some overly overpriced Mini Eggs (I mean £5 for a tube, come on!)

Once realisation hit, there was one thing for it - I had to bring Hot Cross Buns to Singapore.
I remember Easter's spent as a child sat in the garden with my chocolate eggs melting all over my hands - apparently it's -2 in Britain today, what's going on?!
This is the easiest Hot Cross Bun recipe I could think of and takes no more than 30 minutes to make less than a dozen larges buns.

Hot Cross Bun recipe - 01


For the buns:

350g white bread flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
100g raisins
300ml milk
1 egg

For the white cross:

150g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 drop almond or vanilla extract

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Mix the white flour, baking powder, salt and butter together with your hands to create a crumby mixture..

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Add the honey and raisins and shake the mixture, make a well in the middle and slowly mix and add the milk to create a sticky combination...

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Line a baking tray with baking paper and spoon the mixture into large balls.
Mark a cross on the top of each bun as deep as possible - the sticky texture makes this quite difficult but this helps when you ice the buns.
Create a glaze texture on top by whisking one egg and bushing lightly over the top.

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While the buns are cooking, mix together the icing sugar, milk and essence.
Once the buns have cooled, use the icing to accentuate the crosses and there you go...

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Serve with butter and jam, honey, cream and berries, warm chocolate and berries...the list is endless..

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Happy Easter!