Monday, April 10, 2017

Lunch Boxes 2

A few months down the road and I think I'm starting to get the hang of these lunch boxes. I learned that the trick is to always offer variety and make sure that nothing leaks, haha! Unfortunately, Bubs isn't the biggest fan of veggies so I've wisely omitted stuff like carrot sticks and the like from his lunch boxes. I console myself with the fact that he eats them, albeit unwillingly, during meal times at home. 

Homemade pancakes with jam. In hindsight, I should have popped open the lid of the jam container before snapping a pic. At home, we usually have pancakes with honey but I've nightmares of Bubs making a sticky mess at school so I swapped them for jam instead.

Yogurt days are an absolute breeze for me, all I do is add in some fruit and fun snacks with it. We ran out of muesli so I used crushed chocolate Weetbix for a yogurt sprinkle.

Bubs picked out this yummy looking scone from a bakery the night before. I added a cheese stick, some strawberries and biscuits.

Store bought cheese pesto ciabatta. I got a mini pack of Japanese Power Rangers biscuits on sale and Bubs was thrilled with them.

Smitten Kitchen has the most luscious and easy to bake desserts and these chocolate yogurt snack cakes were a breeze to make plus Bubs loves them. I bake them in advance and they're easy to freeze.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Thai Shop

Thai Shop, a small cafe at the corner of Kimberly Street, is chock-full of Instagram-friendly nooks and crannies. It offers authentic Thai cuisine with both indoor and outdoor seating. If the weather is good, grab a chance to sit outdoors to experience a full Thai street food experience. Ordering is slightly confusing; even if you're seated indoors, you still need to walk outside next to the little alley to place your order though don't let that deter you: the food here is amazing. 

The menu is displayed in front of the drinks cart with a basic range of mains. The only sign that you're actually in Penang is that prices are in RM, not Baht ;) Even the radio is tuned into a Thai music station. 

Staff were bustling around preparing food. 

The aroma wafting over from the grilled pork was incredible.

The cha yen (Thai iced milk tea) and tub tim krob (shaved ice dessert) were the first to arrive. We loved the creamy, not overly sweet milky iced tea that comes in a ready to takeaway cup but thought that the tub tim krob could be more generous with their slices of jackfruit.

The pork satay was an instant crowd pleaser; succulent and sweet - almost like char siew, Bubs could have easily finished the whole plate if we didn't stop him. In fact, when Hubs returned again with his colleagues, he said one guy ate 7 sticks at a go and even requested a takeaway. It was THAT good.

Hubs thought the signature stewed pork knuckle served with steaming white rice was tender and and reasonably priced. The pickles and chilli sauce went perfectly with the soft pieces of meat.

I liked the green papaya salad which was freshly made at the open air kitchen and it wasn't as crazily spicy as some versions I've had. It made for a light bite. I did think that they made a kickass fried egg for the rice that comes with the green curry. The green curry was decent though not the star of the meal.

We loved the food there so much that we went back for round 2 with my Dad. This time around, we decided to add on a couple more items. The pork sausages are a new addition to their menu and are a bit of an acquired taste. The owner told us in advance that it tastes a lil tangy. It wasn't that sour on the tastebuds but still pales in comparison to their stellar pork satay. Hubs was left to finish this since Bubs and I really loved the satay.

The seafood tomyum was a decent value, priced at RM12, it came with 3 large, fresh prawns. The fiery spice levels were more muted than I expected it to be and it wasn't overly sour either, though the flavours were bold and zingy.

Thai Shop
Phone: 012-741 1868
257, Lebuh Kimberley, Penang
Opening hours: 12PM - 3PM, 6PM - 9PM (Best to check FB for days when they are closed)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Creameal Revisited & Kai Curry Bar

Bubs is immensely proud of the fact that he can eat curry though he neglects to tell people that it's specifically Japanese curry that he can only eat (sweeter and milder than our local variants) and he'd been begging to try Kai Curry Bar for quite some time. 

We dropped by for dinner last weekend but as it only opens at 6pm, we still had an hour to kill so Bubs was more than delighted to spend it at Creameal, just next door. It was thankfully quiet so we lounged there for a while.

I love the freshly made waffles and unique ice cream flavours there. This was bandung (rose flavoured), marshmallow and salted gula Melaka.

Kai Curry Bar is a cosy restaurant that specialises in, yes, Japanese curry. They make their own spice blends and gravies without any artificial flavourings or MSG. Vegetarian options with veg-based curry bases are also available. The curry bar is named after the owner's son and Kai's drawings are used literally everywhere to add whimsy - from the walls, to the overhead panels and on the menu.

You're given the option of selecting either a pork or vegetarian based curry and we went with pork for all our dishes. Each dish comes with a complimentary scoop of chilled mashed potato salad plus a jar of , which we thought was a pleasant and welcoming touch. I personally loved the small jar of fukujinzuke, Japanese pickles, and took generous helpings of them.

Hubs choose the seared chicken curry, Bubs went with a small portion of the katsu curry. Hubs commented that the seared chicken was nicely done but conceded that the katsu was much better, it was coated with the right amount of breadcrumbs and fried to crispy perfection.

Kai's curry was wonderfully fragrant, a lot less sweet than the commercial ones at chain restaurants with a stronger spice taste. It wasn't tongue scorching but Bubs - who can't even stand black pepper - was gulping water every few mouths.

I picked the udon curry because I'm a huge fan of thick, chewy noodles and felt that the gravy was an amazing accompaniment to them. There were chunks of meat and vegetables in the soup and it was a hearty meal. It definitely had a nice, homecooked taste to it.

Kai Curry Bar
Opening hours: 11:00am – 3:00pm; 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Closed on Mondays and Sundays
Phone: 04-226 0322
Address: 15, Jalan Phuah Hin Leong, 10050 Penang.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Random Bits and Bobs

Ever since Bubs started primary school, weekdays have been a blurry rush of beating peak time traffic, unpacking and repacking his school bag, cramming in some revision all while trying to cook dinner and do the laundry at the same time. Whew! I get tired even thinking of it. Bub's weakest subject is Bahasa Melayu so I usually scan his school books to have an idea of what the teacher has covered, jot down a quick vocab list to practise with him and also get him to do a page or two from workbooks. Sometimes Bubs will read a Malay picture book with Hubs and again, I quiz him on vocabulary. #TigerMum, hear me roar. 

So apart from school stuff, this is what we have been up to. I've said it again and again, Bubs is incredibly lucky to have grandparents that adore him and think that he can do no wrong. During the last school holidays, both sets of grandparents were squabbling over who got to look after him.

Meal planning has been such a time saver and sometimes on weekends, I pre-cook for the week ahead and store them in the freezer. This simple braised peanut dish is a favourite of mine as it makes for a tasty side dish to rice porridge. All you need, apart from the time required to slowly braising them, are peanuts (soaked for a few hours to soften them), star anise, cloves, cinnamon pieces, 5 spice powder, soy sauce, dash of oyster sauce and sugar to taste.

Taking some time out to smell the roses admire bonsais. My dad's friend has this amazing bonsai collection and each time I visit him, I am just in awe at how artistic he is in arranging the layout and the infinite care and patience he has in babying them. Look at how he packed soil and rocks on a very shallow tray and getting them to form a craggy mount for the bonsai to grow on.

Bubs has been trying his hand at short creative writing and at times, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at his attempts. In typical Bubs style, he rushes through his work to get it over with. For his imaginary pet monkey, he initially stopped after "it won't eat you", saw me arching an eyebrow at him and tapping at the paper, before wisely deciding to expand it just a bit more. Bubs, oh, Bubs ...

Art is one of his favourite classes so he was excited to do this cool fingerpainting art at home. We found it amusing that strong-willed Bubs was unusually insistent in following the art teacher's suggested composition, right down to the exact number of flowers ;)

And random scribbling to his heart's content. He's recently discovered the beauty of ink-based markers (more vibrant & bolder than colour pencils) and is obsessed with using them all the time.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

KL Eats

We took a whirlwind trip to KL earlier, spending just a night there but spending it on a lot of truly yummy eats. 

We arrived just a little past lunch time and spent it at Red Kettle, Taman Desa, mainly because I've been craving for its chocolicious soft serve and Hubs loves their innovative menus. The cafe was jam packed on a Saturday as it was peak time but the wait staff were very pleasant and quickly cleaned a table for us.

I'm not usually a fan of rice-based dishes but the fried chicken karaage and rice really hit all the right buttons. I usually find fried chicken and plain white rice to be a lil dry but the sauces and twist of lime added a nice zing to the dish. The green veg were steamed to perfection and still crunchy. Bubs absolutely loved the crispy chicken pieces.

Hubb's choice was the Vietnamese pork meatball sandwich which was a nice, crusty baguette stuffed with tender pork meatballs, a medley of sauces that had notes of lemongrass, pickled veg and a piquant chilli mayo. I stole a few bites of it and found it to be kickass.

"I want chocolate ice cream in a cone!" Bubs demanded even before we stepped into the cafe.

Voila, dessert was everyone's dream come true all on a single skillet.

Chocolate soft serve, in a cone, no less, check.
Grilled, homemade bacob (these people homemake everything!) check
Fluffy soft French toast, check.

Needless to say, the 3 of us polished this off easily. Bubs promptly plucked the cone and what remained of the ice cream up quickly before it could melt any further. Hubs complained mildly that the salty rashers of bacon was weird in a dessert but I relished it every bit of it (less men, more share), piling more chocolate ice cream on top of it before spearing it onto a soft cube of French toast. Mmmmm, perfection <3

We continued our culinary adventure during dinner time with KL Godma, who always knows the best eating spots. She was raving about how amazing the iced watercress drink was at Monkey Noodle Bar so we drove around Taman Paramount in the drizzling rain a few rounds just to find a parking lot.

When we finally found a lot and hustled over to get a table, we were informed that sadly, the cold watercress drink already ran out. You should have seen the look of disappointment on KL Godma's face ;) Thankfully, they still had hot versions of the drink and agreed that they wouldadd ice cubes to my mug but did warn that it might dilute the taste a little.

"So? What do you think of it?" KL Godma asked after I took a sip of my drink.

It tasted exactly like watercress soup but without the porky taste. I didn't know if I was gulping down soup or a drink!

This was KL Godma's stewed pork rice stewed with a side of preserved mustard greens and topped with a sunny side up egg.

Bubs and I shared the pork noodles which came in a larger than expected portion and generous helpings of pork slices.

We under-ordered on purpose because KL Godma promised us a truly delightful dessert place just next door.

Kakigori dishes out delightful bowls of shaved ice concoctions. While they are slightly on the pricey side (my parents would choke at the idea of RM15 high class ice kacang), it is a lovely place to chill and the desserts are HUGE.

Look at the size of this Uji Matcha, literally bigger than Bub's head. Be warned, the matcha is a premium grade from Japan, which gives it a slightly grassy, strong scent and only for green tea lovers. There are tiny chunks of red bean hidden inside and it comes topped with home made warabimochi and a small cup of kinako milk.

I thought KL Godma's choice of Guava was much better and I can see it being a hit on blistering hot days. The guava bits were blended into the ice itself, giving it an interesting, pulpy texture. What made it stellar was the the petite dish of assam powder mixed with salt that you're meant to dip your spoon into before taking a scoop of the shaved ice. The sour, salty kick mellowed with the sweetness of the guava ice was unbelievable!

Bubs really enjoyed his 24 hours in KL with all of the feasting and spending time with KL Godma. Here's to the next trip ;)
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