Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fried Tang Yuen ~ Winter Solstice Festival or Dongzhi 2013


The Winter Solstice Festival or 'Dongzhi' falls on  this Sunday, 22nd December.  Again, glutinous rice balls called tong yuen/tangyuen generally  with sweet fillings are eaten today.  For a change, I made them savoury this year, fried with minced meat.  It was well received by family members and I was happy as it was treated as a meal!






Recipe for Fried Tang Yuen

    Ingredients

    • 150 gm minced pork
    • 2 Shitake mushrooms, soaked, stemmed and diced
    • 30 gm dried shrimps, chopped
    • 250 gm tong yuen
    • 2 pips garlic, chopped
    • Spring onions, chopped
    • Sesame oil to drizzle
    Seasoning for the minced pork
    • 1 tsp each of light soya sauce, cornflour
    • 1/4 tsp each of seasalt, sugar
    • dash of pepper

    Method
    1. Heat up a pan with some oil, saute the chopped garlic till fragrant.
    2. Add in the dried shrimps, followed by the mushrooms and the marinated pork.  Sprinkle on some water and stir-fry till cooked.
    3. Meanwhile, cook the tong yuen with some boiling water.  Strain off water and add to the meat mixture.  Give it a good stir to mix well.
    4. Fine tune to taste.
    5. Toss in the spring onions, mix well.
    6. Drizzle on some sesame oil.
    7. Serve immediately.


    8. Have an enjoyable 'Dongzhi' with your loved ones. 
       I'll be taking a break over X'mas and the New Year.  See you all in 2014!
      And

      Here's Wishing everyone of you
       A Very Merry X'mas and A Blessed New Year!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our last day in Prague and a sumptuous dinner at Kotleta




 On our last stay in Prague we took a walk to the New Town as we had to look for a very modern building in Prague.  We passed by this  Matylda Boat Hotel, in fact two hotels, anchored alongside the Vltava river.  The newer  Boat Hotel is the Klotylda.





The Dancing House is one of the most interesting Prague buildings built at the end of the 20th Century. It represents a man and a woman, named 'Fred and Ginger' dancing together.  It was awarded the Design of the year 1996 award from the American Time magazine.  This extraordinary building is at the corner of Jirasek Square and Rasin Quay alongside the river Vltava.  The Celeste Restaurant and Bar, formerly La Perle de Prague, is a French restaurant housed on the top two floors of the building.



We were looking for a place to relax our weary feet and the reviews from Tripadviser convinced us to give this restaurant a try.  All of us weren't disappointed.  Good, clean ambience and very friendly service.





We ordered Staropramen Beer and some citrus drinks.


Goulash and dumplings


Chicken Schnitzel with pureed potatoes.


Spare ribs


Gee.... the best pork knuckle that we've ever eaten and we just love the presentation.


The bill came to 1201 CZK which is about Rm 195 excluding tips.


This restaurant is highly recommended should you ever decide to visit  Prague
and thanks for following me on this journey!





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Monday, December 16, 2013

Pistachio Mixed Fruits White Chocolate Bark


I have no clue what a chocolate bark is until I stumbled upon a chocolate bark recipe from browneyedbaker. Chocolate bark is actually a sheet of chocolate usually studded with nuts, dried fruits and broken up into irregular pieces with no specific pattern which sounds interesting and easy to pick up.  I'm very pleased with my first attempt and hope to try out other variations.  What's more, as X'mas is just round the corner, why not make some, wrap in decorative cellophane bags, adorn with a ribbon and give as a gift.  Homemade treats certainly are great gifts for the holidays and the festive season!




Recipe for Pistachio Mixed Fruits White Chocolate Bark (adapted from 'here' with modifications)

Ingredients                                                                      

  • 8 oz white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 oz light roasted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1.1/2 oz dried cranberries, raisins and golden raisins, coarsely chopped
Method
  1. Line a 7 inch or 8 inch baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Melt 6 oz of white chocolate over a double boiler, keep stirring, once melted, remove from heat. Wipe off the water from the sides and bottom of the pot.  Add in the remaining 2 oz of chopped white chocolate and stir till fully melted. (This is the 'seeding' method to temper the chocolate).
  3. Add pistachios and mixed fruits and continue to stir till well combined.
  4. Spread chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick depending on the size of the pan and the desired thickness.
  5. Let cool in room temperature and chill in the refrigerator till set.
  6. Break up the bark into pieces, store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. 



I'm submitting this post to the 'Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013' event hosted by
Baby Sumo of  Eat Your Heart Out.


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Friday, December 13, 2013

In and around Prague Castle


These are the steps leading to the Prague Castle (but I took this picture when I was on the way down).  The Castle stands high above the river Vltava and the buildings enclosed by the Castle walls include a palace, three churches and a monastery.


Gateway to Court of Honour of Prague Castle ... the gates are crowned by copies of the 18th Century statues of Fighting Giants by Ignaz Platzer.  These were not merely decorative but acted as an integral element of support.


The Changing of the Guards takes palce in the first courtyard, every hour but at 12 noon it is the formal handover carried out with a fanfare and banner exchange.
******
Motor show  in the afternoon.








St. Vitus's Cathedral -  front view and west side view of the cathedral with its main tower
 and golden gate rose windows.


Tympanum of the cathedral ~ basically the semi-circular area enclosed by the arch above the lintel of an arched entranceway.  The area is decorated with sculptures in the Romanesque and Gothic periods.


Stained glass window created in Art Nouveau of the cathedral allows natural light into the nave of the cathedral.





The Chancel ~ remarkable for the soaring height of its vault, is one of the highlights of  the St. Vitus's Cathedral.  The net vaulting is supported by large flying buttresses.


The large rose window above the cathedral's main entrance was designed by František Kysela. The stained glass window, completed in 1927, shows biblical scenes. 


Tomb of St. John Nepomuk.  Crafted from solid silver in 1736, this elaborate tomb honours the saint who became the focus of a Counter-Reformation cult.


A replica of the crown jewels of St. Wenceslas in the St. Wenceslas chapel within St. Vitus's Cathedral.

An old Czech legend says that any usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year, as the Crown is in personal property of St. Wenceslas and may only be worn by a rightful Bohemian king during his coronation. During World War II, Reinhard Heydrich, the Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, is said to have secretly "crowned" himself while inspecting St. Vitus' Cathedral, and was assassinated less than a year later by the Czech resistance. Although there is no evidence proving that Heydrich did so, the legend is widely believed.  (extracted from Wikipedia)




St. George's Basilica ~ the oldest church within the vicinity of the Prague Castle.  The present rusty red Baroque facade was built in the 17th century.  It is one of the most beautiful Romanesque monuments in the Czech Republic and a place of great importance as it served as the burial ground to the royal Premyslid family.  Nowadays, the Basilica  houses the 19th century Bohemian Art Collection of the National Gallery in Prague and also hosts frequent Prague classical music concerts.


The Basilica's ceiling of deep, dark wood.


The impressive Baroque grille and the curving steps that lead up to the choir.





Outside Prague Castle


Quaint roof tops of the Little Quarter viewed on the way down from Prague Castle.

Hope you've enjoyed the tour of Prague Castle and its surroundings. 
 If you're not bored, stay tuned for more!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Herbal Duck Soup Noodles in Ipoh @ Sin Kooi Yuen



I'm sure many of you Malaysians must have heard of and tasted the acclaimed herbal duck soup noodles from Pun Chun Restaurant in Bidor, Perak.  Recently a friend recommended me a shop also selling the herbal duck soup noodles, wantan noodles, etc right here in Ipoh.  We took the opportunity to pay a visit to Restoran Sin Kooi Yuen @ Taman Rishah,  and tried their signature herbal duck soup noodles.  If you're not a fan of duck meat, you can opt for herbal chicken soup noodles and they also serve siu kow/dumplings, a variety of yong tau fu, fried foo pei, stuffed sengkuang/turnips, curry chicken and BBQ meat noodles and braised chicken feet.  The marvellous thing is that most of them are all homemade by the lady proprietress!


You're spoilt for choice looking at what they have to offer!


Their signature herbal duck soup served in a ceramic bowl.  Whole drumstick, well marinated and steamed with Chinese herbs, like tong sum, pak kei, red dates, dried longan and goji berries.  The meat is tender and soft and the soup tasty and delicious.  All of us, five in number, opined that this is much better than the one served at Pun Chun!


Dried wantan noodles (home made) served in light and black soya sauce with some 'chee yau char' or deep fried pork lard.


We ordered some sui kow/dumplings to try .... the skin was thin with a generous amount of pork filling.


Also had some wan tan soup.


An assortment of deep fried bean curd sheet with fish filling/foo pei, bitter gourd and brinjal.


Pork and fish balls, and foo pei in soup.        


Tasty and  tender braised chicken feet.


Reasonable price list.


The plucky lady proprietress, Mdm Chow Lai Har gets up at 5 a.m. each morning to prepare all these goodies to serve her customers.  If you're in Ipoh, you needn't have to travel all the way to Bidor to satisfy your craving for herbal duck soup noodles.  Do give Sin Kooi Yuen a try.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Restoran Sin Kooi Yuen
17 Jalan Raja Perempuan Mazwin
Taman Rishah, 30100 Ipoh, Perak

Tel:  05-5266398/019-5705322

Opening hours :  7.30 am to 3.30 pm daily
Close on alternate Wednesdays.


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