Simply Italian

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Being a fan of Italian food, I'm all eager to sign up for Simple Italian class with Chef Khai. You must be wondering why the classes I attend, if not all, are conducted by the same chef. I don't have a personal preference for this chef but he usually organises class featuring recipes from the world. The price is quite reasonable in my context & the school is not too far from my house.

In this class, we were taught to prepare 3 recipes - tomato tartine (appetiser), chicken ragout with roesti potatoes (main) & tiramisu brownies (dessert). Tomato tartine is basically tomatoes on tart-size puff pastry. Tartine is not restricted to tomato filling & opens up to many possibilities of variations in fillings used. For us newbies, tomatoes are relatively easier to handle.

First, tomatoes were cut into cubes. Meanwhile, the pan is heated while adding in butter, sugar (to taste) & a little water, allowing the content to caramelised. Tomatoes were poured into the pan for a quick saute, to be seasoned with fresh herbs & black pepper to taste. While the cooked tomatoes were left aside to cool, we rolled the store-bought puff pastry to the desired size before cutting the dough with a cookie cutter. Instead of following the recipe's method, we were told to scoop the tomatoes on each cut puff pastry piece. Egg wash was applied on all the puff pastry, then popped into the oven to bake at 180°C for 10-20 mins or until golden brown. Here are our masterpieces. =D

Next dish is chicken ragout with roesti potatoes, a dish which involves more steps. To start off, we saute the garlic, carrot, & mushroom until half cooked. We then put in the chicken fillet which were sliced earlier & continued stirring. Cream, parmesan cheese & salt were added taste. The sauce & vegetables were left to simmer until thicken. Alternatively, egg yolk can be added to do the trick. For the roesti, we grated the potatoes & set aside in salt water to prevent oxidation. Meanwhile, we began sauteing some garlic & onion with some fresh herb & parsley, releasing the aroma. The grated potatoes were added in, forming a patty-like shape & let it cooked until brown on each side.

Once the roesti is cooked properly, it is ready to be served next to the ragout.

The last dish for the day is tiramisu brownies - a twist from the classic tiramisu which has a tiramisu topping over brownies. Due to limited time, we only managed to bake the brownies. Firstly, dark chocolate & butter is melted over a double boiler & set aside to cool. Using a stand mixer, whip the eggs & sugar until double the volume.

The melted chocolate-butter is then added to the eggs mixture. Next, yoghurt & flour were added & mix well until combine. Lastly, chopped macadamia is folded into the brownies mixture. The brownies is baked at 180°C. Just look at how well the brownies turned out!

It was a waste that time was running out. Otherwise, it would've been better to do the topping on the spot & get tips from the chef. In my opinion, the appetiser & main dish tasted the best. Yums~

Iron Man 3

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh my. Little did all of us expect that the highly successful Iron Man franchise is finally reaching its third & final instalment. Before I share my review, I'd must say that I'll miss this character dearly as it is unlikely we get to see Robert Downey Jr donning the armor suit in the self titled movie anytime soon apart from appearing in the next Avengers sequel.

This time, we get to see Tony Stark aka Iron Man back to basics by stripping bare of his usual suits & goes undercover ala James Bond to track down the villain. Struggling to deal with the post-trauma of the alien invasion in New York, Stark became obsessed with his Iron Man suit & built several dozen suits as he believed it will keep him & Pepper Potts safe from potential enemies.

Meanwhile, a series of bombings by a terrorist group known as the Mandarin left authorities puzzled because no forensic evidence were found. When Stark Industries security chief, Happy Hogan was injured in one of the bombings, Stark boldly announced a threat against the Mandarin on a televised news. With that, the Mandarin responded with an attack at his residence. His home was destroyed & was forced to flee in his suit elsewhere. Thankfully, Potts survived the attack but seeing Stark not returning for days, he was assumed dead.

I shall stop elaborating any further on the plot as it would be a total spoiler. The other aspect of the film which I find heartwarming is the friendship between Stark & his new found buddy, who is a kid. Sans the gadgets & impressive CGs, it's great to see a change in the pace of the film with Downey's raw performance focusing on fighting his inner demons & learning to let go of his ego in order to gain trust & help from a child.

Surely, there were flaws here & there especially when you ponder hard after watching the movie. Some scenes didn't make much logical sense but honestly I didn't even bother pinpointing any of them reason being the movie was entertaining. As expected, this is one superhero character that is able to stand out on its own with much glamour & style without being overtly nonsensical. After all, Tony Stark is still human & someone we can relate to. The only difference is he's a genius, billionaire, playboy & philanthropist. And we all love how the actor portrayed him as if Robert Downey Jr = Tony Stark.

Pic courtesy of

A day as a polling agent

Monday, May 06, 2013

The final showdown of the much anticipated election finally ended yesterday after months of speculation. I was not registered therefore deemed ineligible to cast my vote. Nevertheless, I involuntarily volunteered myself to become a polling agent. So ironic, that's the first word that probably came into your mind. Say whatever you want to say. In your eyes, I didn't do my part as a citizen by exercising my voting rights. Makes you wonder why I became so noble to contribute my hours as a polling agent, moreover for the longest ruling party in the country.

I did this for my Mum, not for anyone else because I pitied her for not able to get enough manpower to help out. Speaking of voting, I had my own compelling reasons for choosing not to do so. As a matter of fact, I have experienced first hand administration from either parties & both have emerged as a huge disappointment. Change is good if only whichever ruling party delivers what was promised. Unfortunately, the Opposition party who took over my neighbourhood also failed to keep its promise. As a result, voting for either party was out of the question for me.

Being a polling agent was an easy-peasy job. Each polling agent represents the party that are contesting & all they need to do is to observe the process during election to ensure that there are no frauds. That morning, I was assigned to Saluran 1 or Room 1 which consists of voters age 60 & above. It was an interesting watch because never in my mind I would've expected that some old folks age almost 90 years old actually turned up to cast their votes. Even though they came with walking sticks or on a wheelchair, their disabilities did not dampen their spirits. The crowd grew large at about 10.30am as everyone scrambled to mark the ballots & dropped them in the ballot box.

After lunch, the crowd lessen fearing a heavy downpour as informed by the weather forecast. Soon enough, it was raining cats & dogs but some who have yet to vote still turned up at their respective rooms. My shift ended at 4pm but the electoral session officially ends at 5pm. Later that night, I was very eager to sit through the live telecast in order to find out about the results. However, I gave up watching the announcement because the results were biased. Well, who am I kidding? Change is a painful journey & it doesn't happen overnight.

Photos & videos flooded on social media that ballot boxes were brought into the election centre via the back door during the counting session. Earlier on, certain areas also received a bus load of foreigners who miraculously was granted ICs in a short period, were allowed to enter the building to cast their votes. The people who witnessed this tried to stop but to no avail because these foreigners were being escorted to safety by armed forces.

I felt disappointed with by how the election process turned out. Democracy no longer exist for real. I do not expect politics to ever come clean but seriously, the winning party doesn't have to be play up their dirty tricks so blatantly obvious. It goes to show how desperate they are in winning it. I still love this country. Please don't stir up racial slurs anymore. The rakyat has certainly come a long way since 56 years ago - living harmoniously & respecting one another. We are not that dumb & petty...