Discovering my own Back yard.

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Ever had the feeling of people coming up to you or a topic arises in your daily conversations with your friends about your hometown and few moments later you'd raise an eyebrow and try not too look so puzzled when visitors to your hometown actually know more than you do? Well if you have been reading this and nodded sagely to the previous statement i know how you feel.

To me Kuching has been the place where i wad born and bred. The place where during my 20 over years stay has seen much development from one fast food chain to an uncontrollable proliferation of this scab all over my home town. To think of the very idea of coming over to Kuching would be shunted by a person like me, diverting all possible thoughts of a proper holiday destination to a place like Bali. Honestly there isnt really much to see here. Just a small town(well in my mind at least) growing at a very steady rate. 

Few weeks ago a number of my relatives came down to Kuching in conjunction of Rainforest World Music festival. The one only good reason to visit Kuching for a holiday if your into folk music of different cultures.




So i got to play tour guide along with my parents and guess what the magical thing about this "job" like many others, you actually learn along the way. I did, i learned about this supposed temple on top of a hill overlooking the mouth of the Rajang river, Sarawak's main artery of transportation to the interior( and still is till this day). Build in the late 1800's as a place for fishermen's families to pay respects to Gods before and after going out to sea asking for a bountiful catch and a safe return home. It does remind me of Kek lok Si in Penang.





Located in a small fishing village called Muara Tebas. You get a familiar sense of old times when you first arrive in this kampung. Families living off the catch from the ocean as fishermen and have been doing that for many generations. 



Another unique sight to behold would be the existence of true racial harmony. You have an iban chap handing you your jawsticks and another old Malay woman reading your 'fortune' off a reading stick. 1Malaysia much?

Being so close to the sea there's the ubiquitous seafood fresh off the hook. And for a pretty reasonable price as well.




Gah! cant go on typing away any longer without addressing the elephant in the room. Yea! i havent been blogging for four weeks now been pretty busy with saving the world from prehistoric alien tech robots coming to earth from the moon, filming an alien sighting with an old film camera, being adorned one random night as the guardian of earth by some ugly green red faced being which crash landed on earth in a complicated glass jar and saving the princess of a rebellion from the reins of Jabba the Hut in Tatooine. Yeah yeah all the excuses but one things for sure the play button has been resumed on blogging. But a busy semester ahead and my final exams comin up. 

Google +

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There's lots of excitement brewing in the air of social networking recently with particular focus on Google's latest brain child simply name Google +. I wont say its a total revelation or revolutionary but more of an evoultion of social network giants Facebook with a simpler and tidier interface.

Im still figuring my way around things but i cant really see its full potential since its rather quiet at the moment with only a few of my friends using it as well. Cant imagine the excitement when its implemented in full fledge.

So is this going to be another cheap ass rip off of facebook? That would be an understatement. Its like saying is an orange the cousin of an apple going through puberty with its pus faced coloration and rough acne skin?

For now i'll probably see how things play out to be and hopefully google tweaks its interface further for easier usage. If your looking for an invite just leave your email address in the comments box below and i'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Craft Brews @ Mutiara Damansara

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Some say beer is the new wine and that it has bounced back into fashion with a strong pace. On a personal level i started off like alot of people. I found the taste of beer to be horrible with its strong bitterness that sticks to your tongue and the putrid stench of alcohol that it leaves behind. That was just a small antecedote of the past. But once i learn to familiarize myself with the compostion of beer and the interplay between the  composition of malt and hops with the latter giving it its bitter taste i steered my tastebuds towards a more favourable field in my choices of beer.

Admittedly i still abhor beers with an overwhelming bitter taste but at the same time find myself clear off it. So when groupsmore offered a deal with one of Malaysia's few microbrewery pubs i jumped on the wagon like a fat kid and a doughnut.

This deal is a limited offer for 50% off Craft Brew's signature barbeque meat platter and salad for 4 at RM 69 instead of RM 138.05. Its a no brainer and plus it includes pork ribssssss......

But this was more of an excuse to venture all the way to the other side of town for a fresh pint of beer from Singapore's premium microbrewery Red Dot.

So each of us started off with half a pint of with their monster green beer, english ale and i personally went for their featured beer of the month which was Kolsch which turned out pretty good, tasted like very refined and smooth lager.

Dont even get me started on their monster green beer. This left me green envy after taking my first sip of it. First taste that hits you would be a slight bitterness which trails off to become sweet. Ever heard of the term bitter sweet? Yeap this is one pint with that name tag on it. And for those of you who are into organic mumbo jumbo hooha you'd be glad to know that the green colour comes from the addition of spirulina which to non-scientific reading people a bacteria producing energy through photosynthesis.

As for the english ale, well like what i said in the first paragraph regarding bitter beers it was as bitter as a tragedy could be. So i pass on this.

After a short round of circulating beers on the table the meat platter arrived just on time before we began to get hammered. In simple terms, a huge plate, 2 selection of pork ribs ( we went tex mex and hickory smoked), 2 cuts of quarter chicken, 4 corn cobs and a central island of potato wedges.

Everything had a nice smoky flavour which complements the beer flavours really well. Taste wise i enjoyed both variations of ribs and i believe they're like meat lollipops meant to be dipped in beers.
The wedges is something to be reckon with. Its probably the best tasting one's i have ever had. Im guessing the use of beer batter like the ones on classic english Fish and Chips had something to do with its extra bite of crunchiness.

Didnt really fancy the salad though, the dressing was a little too sour for my liking making it stand awkward with the other taste like a vegetarian in a butcher shop.
words of wisdom as their table mats.

Any beer connoisseur would tell you that draft beers comes as a top choice and even better if its from an award winning micro brewery to add to that sense of novelty and uniqueness. Craft beer has made it to the top of my list as a favourite watering hole for both beer and good grub.

Location:

Craft Brews
Jalan PJU 7/2,
Mutiara Damansara,
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

IMU's Culinary Underbelly

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At the end of the 4th semester for every student in IMU's medical course would be given a choice of a few topics to study as a 3 weeks course. So i tried isolating my mind as far away as i could from medical related topics. But sadly this time round literature wasn't an option so the closest thing to that would have been Nutrition and Dietetics.

Boy was i so sunken deep down with regret each day in class which starts at an ungodly hour of 8am and placing myself through lessons that clashes with principals of any foodie abides too. Learning to count calories, being taught on how to come up with a healthy diet and  acknowledging that my daily diet is enough to last me up to 3 days worth of calories.
One work station, complete with 4 stoves and an oven. Sufficient space for prep as well!

It was awful, torturing and to a certain extend lewd to my eyes and ears that i wanted to jam a pencil into it. But probably the true reason i joined was either to learn how to abuse my calories and have access to IMU's swanky kitchen. More inclined to the latter though.

You might be thinking why does a medical school need such a swanky kitchen worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant. Its what students of Nutrition and Dietetics call their lab. Our term of lab coins from looking at cancerous cells under a microscope where as their's is a cradle of excitement and creativity. Sighs....

So what were tasked to do was to create a dish/ modify it from an existing recipe to make it more healthy in a time of 3 hours. Pretty much like iron chef on a much more amateur level. So i ended up with a group of girls and an indirect alpha male since everyone else knew next to nothing about cooking.

With this in mind the most suitable dish that i could think of was chicken pie. Something hearty, homely and most of all pausible to pull off in a healthy way. I basically followed the usual principals of a chicken pie but substituted butter with margarine, flour with whole meal flour and reduce the amount of salt added and substituted cube chicken stock with pure chicken broth. The original recipe was taken from here.

Chicken Pie in the making.
Talk about passion
There was a total of 8 groups participating 4 from medicine and the other 4 from dentistry. There was a stark contrast between the preparation methods between two batches. Medical students being more sloppy in terms of presentation but placing greater emphasis on taste and the dental side being very handy and artsy with their garnishing.
Left: Goldilocks porridge, green curry, kebabs, artsy fancy fruit "sushi"
Can you spot which one of the above is the handy work of a dental student? pretty obvious init?

Since our chicken pie had more vegetables than chicken in it, i decided to aptly name our dish "Chicken in the Forest" with a tongue in the cheek attitude. If you think thats rad what about "Stove monkeys" as a group name courtesy of yours truly.
Left: making the "forest" Right: Monkeys in action
So what is Chicken in the Forest? In simple non-Michelin star menu terms it reiterates as Chicken Pie with a side serving of Salad and Honey Glazed Apples with Lemon Zest. The only real difficulty would probably be in getting the pastry to rise and to the right consistency. Im as clueless as lost child when it comes to baking.
Garnishing?



Nothing very fancy in terms of garnishing but big on taste =)

Some cold bihun tossed with roasted shrimps and side serving of mango pudding and stuffed potatoes.
Tastes tangy and salty at the same time very nice.

Cake without butter

Sandwich rolls! Creative stuff

Fruit salad and Porridge.
 This porridge has a texture that was caught between a risotto and congee. Fruit salad was tasty tho.
Green Curry
This was the bomb. I'd give full salutation to the group which made this with green curry paste made from scratch. Nice spicy kick to it.
Fruit "salad"
Fruit cuts with a base of honey binded oats and muesli. Slightly too dry for me though could have used a little more honey for its oats and muesli.
Seared chicken with brown sauce with a side serving of salad.

A complete 3 course meal.
The one word description of this whole meal prepared by a group of dental students would be Vibrant. In terms of colour of course and it does touch on all the major food groups.


Chicken kebab!
This dish ultimately won. They deserved it tho. Couldnt get enough of it. Was definitely redolent of herbs and spices. Everybody was fighting for a piece of this.

Wasn't aware that points and prizes were to be awarded for this. Am grateful that we came in second. Competition was stiff very stiff. 

If i had things my way i'd get michelin to give this one star for presentation.

in shock? i was.

1st place

3rd place
thanks!
If im not mistaken there's a chinese proverb saying in life we should always endure hardship and bitterness before we can truly devour happiness and enjoyment and this was a small example testifying to this. Despite the heavy bludgeoning of proper dietary intake its nice to end with something that i really signed up for. And P.s if everyone had to follow our daily requirement i'd be a good start to rid the world of hunger. 
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