National Jenever Museum at Schiedam, The Netherlands

Sunday, May 29, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Schiedam, The Netherlands
My Dutch colleague suggested me to visit Schiedam, a small city located 60km away from the Amsterdam. Lady luck was clearly with me as my visit coincides with the Annual City Open day which means all the museums in the town can be visited free of charge.

What attracted me most in this 'Gin Capital of the World' is the National Jenever Museum Schiedam. The century old building was once housed the Dutch malt wine distillery and distillery factory. The malt wine is distilled according to the Old Dutch method and recipes back traced in 1700.

National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL

The wooden barrels and tool used such as clay stove to distill the wine are well maintained. Visitors can climb up to the wooded stairs to have a closer look. No doubt the whole building is filled with the aroma from the aging wine and gin.
National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL
National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL
National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL
Upstairs, you may find a great collection of mini bottled wine and gin which comes in different shapes and unit label designs. There is also a section of different spices. Stored in the small drawers, you can pull out the drawer, take a smell and even a close look of them. Put the Master Chef's hat on and see how many spices you can recognized. National Jenever Museum Schiedam, The Netherlands

The court yard is sometimes used for specially functions. For the open day Saturday, there was specially sit down dinning held in Jenever museum, where chefs and crews used the courtyard as the open kitchen.

National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL

Men dressed up in old fashion clothing complete with a hat and looked through the window from the century old building fascinated me most. It was quite a scene to be captured!
National Jenever Museum Schiedam, NL

Dakgalbi Korean Spicy Stir Fried Chicken

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

There a number of Korean Restaurants back home which serve good Dakgalbi. Usually dakgalbi in prepared right in front of you, hence there is a rule for minimum order for 2pax. Dakgalbi does not come cheap as the minimum charge for a 2pax set is around MYR36. With additional add-on such as rice cake, ramen, udon, sweet potatoes etc. plus drinks, the total bill could be easily hit above MYR50.

It did not cross my mind to prepare Dakgalbi at home until I crave for the dish in foreign land and it is nowhere to get except cook it myself. My first attempt was a great success and I had received tonnes of compliments, I then confident to share the recipe here.

350gm of chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3-5 leaves of Napa cabbage (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 carrot (sliced)
2 stalks of scallion (cut into 3cm chunks)
1 potato (cut into 3-5cm long stripes, and boiled in water)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of minced ginger
3 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp cup chili flakes (optional, skip this if you don't take spicy food)
3 tbsp of soy sauce
sugar and water solution
cooking oil
sesame seed for garnishing (optional)

1. Marinate the chicken pieces with some soy sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Make the sauce by mixing the minced ginger and garlic, 3 tbsp gochujang, 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp cup chili flakes and sugar water solution.
3. Heat up some oil in pan, stir fry the sliced onions follow by cabbage, carrot and potato stripes.
4. Add in chicken pieces and sauce prepared earlier. Stir well. Cover with the lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Add in the seasoning - pinch of salt if required.
6. Once the chicken pieces are cook, add in the scallion and do a quick stir.
7. As finishing touch, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the Dakgalbi and serve the dish straight from the pan.

Koreans' way to enjoy Dakgalbi is to wrap the chicken pieces with butter-head leaf or lettuce. The left over sauce in the pan is then used to make fried rice. You may add-in some kimchi and roasted seaweed to your fried rice for more texture. I bet you will be super satisfied and full after this hearty meal.

Famous Czech Food Roasted Duck & Beef Goulash

Sunday, May 08, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Czech cuisine

A visit to Czech is incomplete without tasting the famous Czech roasted duck and dumpling goulash. I first tasted the roasted duck in Pilsner Urquell Brewery Restaurant in Plzeň (Pilsen), a small town about 90 km away from Prague. If time allows, I recommend one to patron at the restaurant for a good taste of local Czech cuisine before/after the tour to Pilsner Urquell Brewery.
If Pilsen is not in your travel plan, not to worry as I know exactly where in Prague city you could get the delicious yet authentic Czech roasted duck. Located in a hidden alley in old town square, the Restaurant Mlejnice is easy to miss. The restaurant is usually packed and it is best to beat the crowd by either patron before noon or after  2pm.

Restaurant Mlejnice, Prague

Regardless of the great selection of food including streak and pasta, the Czech roasted duck and goulash are must try items. The 1/4 duck is served with sauerkraut and gnocchi pasta. The skin of the duck is fried till crispy while still maintain the tenderness of the duck meat inside. The duck meat is best to enjoy with sauerkraut as the sourness helps to reduce the gamy taste of the duck. I tasted no cheesy taste on the gnocchi which I suspected they could be a type of Czech dumpling, in gnocchi pasta shape. Nevertheless, the whole dish scored!
Restaurant Mlejnice, Prague

Next in the menu is the famous Czech beef goulash soup in crusty hollowed bread. This is by far my favourite goulash. The gravy is flavorful, thick and creamy. The beef chucks are stewed to perfection, tender and moist. It is hard to stop after the first spoonful, so addictive indeed. Enjoy the goulash by tearing the crusty bread and dip into the gravy. Yum! If you are not mind with soggy bread, the inner bread should not be missed as they packed with great flavor after soaked up in the rich gravy.

Another restaurant I would like to recommend is the Hlucná Samota located in Praha 2, a highly recommended pub restaurant by my local Czech colleague. It was where I usually held welcome dinners for visitors (especially colleagues) from homeland.

I had tried quite a number of dishes and the most memorable one was the gigantic salad platter with delicious hot wings. I yearning for it but could not figure out which one was the item listed in the menu. I ended up order the hot wings with ciabatta. An average dish I would say. On the contrary, the beef goulash and sausage dumpling with bacon strips did wow me, especially the dumpling. Unlike the dumpling served in Restaurant Mlejnice, the dumpling served here is the classic Czech dumpling with meat filling. The bacon strips added the salty and crispy dimensions to the dish. The dish did have the classic flavour i am searching for.

Although I am not a 'meaty person', I do like Czech food a lot. Perhaps I have acclimated to it after spending few months in this beautiful country. I love Prague !!
Hlucná Samota, Prague

Hlucná Samota, Prague

Fried Salmon Steaks with Asparagus Garlic Lemon Pepper: Under €6 Meal

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Yes, you read it right, €6 for 2 pax of pan-fried asparagus & salmon steaks. Affordable restaurant standard meal prepared at home in less than 30 minutes. That's the the beauty of home cook meal. The 2 pieces of marinated salmon steaks was sold for merely  € 4. I opted for the lemon-pepper-marinate flavor over the BBQ-marinate as the lemon-pepper salmon steak pairs better with asparagus.

The salmon steaks were packed in an aluminum container. You may just unseal the plastic cover on top, drizzle some olive oil and pop into the oven and bake for a 15-20 minutes. I prefer to pan-fry my salmon steaks instead. About 3-4 minutes for each side under medium heat with a tbsp of olive oil. Remember the skin side down first. The salmon steaks were well marinated and no extra seasoning is required.

Now, let's prepare the asparagus.
Ingredients: 500g asparagus (trimmed), 2 cloves of garlic (sliced), 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.

Direction: Heat-up a tbsp of olive oil in the skillet and lightly brown the garlic slices. Add in the
asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, pan fry for another 2 minutes. Serve your salmon steak and pan fried garlic asparagus with boiled potatoes or rice. I prefer rice as they are more substantial than potatoes *wink*

Al dente asparagus, crispy salmon skin, moist and flaky salmon steak, the dish scored. I will definitely make it again. (By the way, the 500g asparagus just cost a mere €1.60)

Crispy salmon skin
Al dente pan fried asparagus with garlic
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