Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Movin' the blog! Come see my new home...

I've been struggling with Blogspot for a while now - I just don't get it. And so, I've made like a hermit crab and have scuttled off to find a new home. 

Please click here or copy and paste:

Malaysian Feasting

I'm incredibly proud of my Malaysian Chinese heritage. My mother was taught to cook by my wonderful grandmother and is the most exceptional chef able to turn her hand to anything be it a simple noodle dish to a full roast beef dinner to an Italian style apple tart. I always look forward to her cooking and love being in the kitchen with her as she prepares the food. In my younger days she wouldn't let me help or if she did, I'd always be lambasted because it wasn't done to her way. Now I'm older, I understand where she was coming from as I get quite antsy in my own kitchen but I'm hopefully more polite to any help I receive!

Now I've proved that I can cook, I'm allowed to help and I thoroughly enjoy it. I hope to sit her down one day and get her to start writing down her recipes as I don't want hers and my grandmother's legacy to end. I'm also conscious of the fact that I'll have to quantify her measures as she tells me she never knows how much of anything she puts in, she does it till it's right. What a great philosophy to lead your life by. In these days of YouTube, social media and the information superhighway, I think we sometimes forget to just step back, breathe and use our own judgement.

So anyway, for those who are more focused on the food aspect of this blog, let me present to you my Mum's Streetfood feast.

She cooked Hokkien Mee - a soupy noodle dish with both egg and rice noodles in a fiery stock flavoured with prawns and chilli served with pork, prawns, spring onions and deep fried shallots. Think aromatic, sweet, spicy, fragrant and so hot that even my brother who loves his chillies found it difficult to take...

We also had Nasi Lemak - one of the dishes that won Ping Coombes her Masterchef trophy. This dish consists of sticky rice flavoured with coconut, chicken curry, boiled egg, cucumber, peanuts and sambal ikan billis which are deep fried anchovies in a chilli paste. This dish is eaten for breakfast all over Malaysia and gives you a real spicy kick to the start of your day.

Our last dish was Char Kway Teoh - fried flat rice noodles, a little reminiscent of Pad Thai but the flavouring is very different. Salty, chilli hot and rich with egg, sweet with Chinese sausage and delicious, this has to be my favourite hawker dish in Malaysia.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Brew Coffee Company - Whiteladies Road

Readers who have read my blog previously will know that I didn’t hold Café Retreat on Whiteladies Road in the best regard and while it is sad when businesses close down, it’s always exciting to see what will spring up in its place especially as Bristol is making such a name for itself in the national food stakes. One only has to look at the last few weeks and the evidence speaks for itself – I’m talking of course about the Bristol Food Connections Festival, Eat Drink Fashion and the Good Food Awards.

But I digress. Café Retreat shut up shop for the last time a couple of weeks ago and this morning, after a paint job and a refurb, Brew Coffee Company threw open its doors to the public. Gone is the bright turquoise façade, replaced by a more muted, timeless taupe and the billowy sheeted ceiling sacrificed for clean lines and a large bar groaning with delicious looking eats.

Joe, my lovely server at Brew, was quick to point out that it was a soft opening and not all of the drinks were available just yet so I’ve made a note to try out the very interesting looking ‘lavender hot chocolate’ next time.

So, let’s move on to the food. How far could they come from supermarket sliced bread and what would appeared to have been sandwich filler from a carton? Polar opposite is the answer.

I chose a slice of hand made slow roasted tomato quiche with a gorgeous, crumbly crust, packed with sweet, delicious tomatoes and a potato salad dressed in a light mustard dressing with cornichons and dill – no claggy mayonnaise to be seen; and a charred cauliflower salad with toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Other temptations on offer included an equally delicious looking salmon quiche and a range of freshly made sandwiches and bagels.

As I stood waiting to pay, slabs of rocky road piled high on a dish were brought out but I found myself drawn to a sticky, glorious looking cinnamon roll from Everything Bagels who are opening their first bakery in Bristol soon. I can confirm that not only is it a thing of architectural beauty but it tastes pretty darn good too!

Brew CC might have opted for a soft opening but judging from the diners outside they’ve burst on to the Whiteladies scene with quite a roar.