Monday, January 19, 2015

Langkawi Sights and Eats: Day 5

It was a glorious, glorious  day. The most relaxing and enjoyable  we had in Langkawi and clearly the highlight of our trip. We did numerous boat tours before, island hopping is not foreign to us but it's FF's and my first sailing trip. The lovely couple Bea and Carl , owner and host of the Catamaran  certainly know what they are doing and deserve an ''A'' for  efficiency . I swear they could read your minds, for they are onto you giving you a hand, handling you a drink,  prepare your slippers way before you could even ask for it and realize you actually need it. They are engaging and warm, making every guest on board feel comfortable with them and with each other. I highly recommend this trip! Let me show you how wonderful our day was.

There's the Catamaran, Rampant. Sleek and cosy and could fit 12 people  comfortably. We met two lovely families on board. A family of 4 from Norway and another family from Melbourne. After an initial silence, Bea and Carl's engaging and warm personalities broke whatever cultural and language barrier there is. Everybody  was chatting merrily with each other the entire day.

 After showing us the rope, listening to important instruction how to stay safe and secure on board, we all spread out and look for the most comfortable place we  could find. FF found his, sat on this corner like his name's written on it.

This is my favourite place. It was made for me. If this is a theatre or a concert, I  would call it ''The front row''. 


Contrary to the local  Astro Boy, Bea,  is well informed and knowledgeable about Langkawi. She knows local myths and folklores that govern the island. This particular mountain resembles a woman  lying on her back, obviously knocked up. Bea said, there's a lake behind it which locals fondly call,  Pregnant Maiden Lake. It is said that the water has fertility properties, making any woman who drink from it pregnant ..or not.  Either  a baby or diarrhea anyway..

 After listening to some entertaining stories, which I honestly a sucker of, there are few activities on and off the catamaran to make each of us entertained and busy.  I tried kayaking for the first time, under the watchful eye of Carl.

 Well, what do yah know? I just realised , I'm pretty good at it! 
If total relaxation is what you're after,  you could just laze around, read a book, enjoy the view, feeling the gentle breeze kiss your face.

Spot the only non-swimmer on board..(°-°)

FF decided  to play captain for a while. Needless so say, everyone on board and the catamaran survived these minutes without a scratch .

 Just when I thought things couldn't get any more better. Bea called everyone to enjoy my favourite pastime  activity, eating!

 A wide spread of buffet comprising of 11 savoury Malaysian dishes were served for lunch. One dish more tasty the other. This is just half of what we had on that day. All the jacuzzing, kayaking, lying, laughing and chatting made me hungry, so I put down my camera down  after two snaps.

Bea will make sure you are kept hydrated as well. Water, soda, juices , beer and wine are available all through out the day. Fresh slices of fruits and snacks were also available soon after that!

Later that afternoon, we went to a almost deserted island. It used to be one, until somebody decided to build a ''restaurant'' on it, bringing more trash than diners from the mainland.

The shore was amazing! The sand is powdery, water is clear. This was Bea's well kept secret island, which she likes to keep clean as much as she could.

 We spent a lazy afternoon in here.

 Then we took a nice little stroll into the mangrove rich isle with Bea sharing some tidbits about the place and the surroundings.

Then we went back to the water. FF and I were the last to climb back up the Catamaran. It was almost 4 in the afternoon when our sailing trip regretfully came to an end. 

After freshening up, we visited  Sakrata Spa again and enjoyed another session of serious pampering .

Dinner was at The Privilege Restaurant. 

FF and I had a three course meal. I honestly can not recall  the name of the dishes we ordered but I was blown away by everything we had that evening. From the wanton cup with shrimp , the crispy soft shell crab, the satays, the rendang and that über- delicious creme brûlée . This was the best meal we had in Langkawi. A pity to have discovered this place on our last night .
  1. Address: Jalan Pantai Kok, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Milka chocolate chip cookies

I'm feeling pretty confident with my chocolate chip cookies recipe after yielding soft and chewy ones  the last time I baked it . After scoring some packs of  Milka chocolate chip from the grocery, I know it's about time to try my luck, one more time.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is another success story, otherwise, it won't be making an appearance on this blog. Combining my favourite cookie and one of my favourite chocolates is such an indulgence.

Thick, soft, delicious and so photogenic ! Here,  have a bite!


3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
100 g unsalted butter
35 g Crisco  all vegetable shortening
250 g brown sugar
200 g white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
400 g Milka chocolate chips

Baking instructions:

 1. Combine and shift together flour, cornstarch , basking soda , baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream together  butter, shortening, brown and white sugar  until pale and light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

 3.With dough hook attached, incorporate flour mixture into the bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. Apparently, refrigerating dough with render softer and chewier cookies.

4. After refrigeration, scoop golf sized dough into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Baked in a preheated oven 180 ° C for 8 minutes. Then turn the baking pan around and bake for  4 more minutes. Take the baking pan out of the oven but don't remove cookies yet. Let it in the baking pan for 5 minutes before transferring to the wire rack for cooling.

Having difficulty sleeping? Have a cookie or two or maybe three with a glass of milk. I promise, your sleep will be  deeper and your dreams sweeter.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Indian fish coconut curry

I love Indian curries. The thick,  spice- laden sauce, the succulent meat and the wonderful aromas that accompany it. Nothing makes me groan in  satisfaction  louder than a good bowlful of this flavourful stew. FF shares my love for Indian cuisine. As a matter of fact  he  loves it a tab bit more than I do. Just a teeny tiny bit more. His family on the other hand, albeit being well travelled, is still relatively new to this cuisine. So today, FF and I want to show them what they've been missing.

Along with Oven baked tandoori chicken, I served Indian fish curry using some excellent and fresh salmon fillets. His family loves this fish and what better way to serve foreign foods, than using familiar ingredients? I just modify the heat knowing that they're not overly keen to spicy things. Use just enough chilies to whet and warm their appetite. And whet and warmed it did. I guess, there will be few calls to Namaskaar   in the coming days.

Serves 6

1.2 kgs salmon fillet cut into 2 inches cubes
3 dried chilies, soaked in 1 tbsp. water 
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
1 tsp. coriander powdered seeds
1 tsp . turmeric powder
3 tbsp. grated coconut ( I only have desiccated coconut at hand and it worked just fine)
1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 thumb sized ginger, grated
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fenugreek 
200 grams  tomatoes, finely diced
2 green chilies ( optional, I skipped this)
 2 tsp. tamarind paste and
 3 tbsp Indian curry mix dissolved in 1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup coconut cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions:

 1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind chilies and 1 tbsp of water. Scrape out and transfer into a small mixing bowl.
 2.Add the rest of the marinade ingredients into the bowl. Mix until everything is well combined.
 3. Pour marinade into the cubed fish fillet. Make sure that each piece is lathered in marinade. Use hands, if necessary.
5. Cover bowl in cling foil and refrigerate for 3 hours.
 6. Heat oil in the pan. I used coconut oil. Add fenugreek and stir fry under medium heat until aromatic. Add in minced onion, garlic and grated ginger.

 7. Add in diced tomatoes.  Sauté until it tomato softens a bit . Dissolve tamarind pulp and curry mix in  water. Pour into the pan, bring mixture into a boil and then let curry sauce simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Let the sauce thicken.
 8. Add in fish cubes and marinade. Carefully fold mixture, cover and let it simmer for 8 minutes.

9. Add coconut cream into the pan. Stir carefully to avoid smashing fish cubes. Turn heat to high and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with white rice or Na an bread.

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