Friday, April 24, 2009

Mai Muang, Chiangmai

we went to chiangmai last month and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. this is our second trip there!

the highlight of the trip, to me, is when we visited this local restaurant where this power couple performs every night. this husband-and-wife team owns the restaurant and draws in the crowd via its excellent food and the top notch singing.

as you can see above, it's music at its minimal. just a guitar accompanying her voice. and i can tell you this... she sings beautifully!

music transcends borders. playing mainly thai folk songs, her singing has an ethereal quality to it. maybe it's her elucidation, or those little inflection she incorporates into the phrases. but then hey, i don't know enough of thai to be able to tell!

but rest assured, we were in awed by the performance.

before we left, i bought 3 cds and she's kind enough to autograph all for me.

if you ever go to chiangmai, check out this place. the restaurant is called "mai muang". it's a type of tree local to chiangmai. i don't think i remembered to take down the names of this power couple but then with thai names, this isn't easy!

once i find more info, will update here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

best pizza in kuala lumpur i ever tasted

i like pizzas but don't go all the way out to search for the "best". at least not yet.

however, when my neighbour william told me about this italian guy baking pizza right here in oug, kuala lumpur, i just got to give it a try.

just imagine this. this shop sells chinese mixed rice during the day, and italiano dishes during the night!

just imagine this. you are savouring pizza (or spaghetti), sitting on plastic stools, and in the dead center of the shop, there is the deity figure of guan yu.

so in a locale setting more commonly associated with low cost chinese mixed rice, you are enjoying your pizza made by this true blue italian and sipping wine!

got it?

the locale just adds to the experience! and of course, the pizza... tony, the proprietor of pinos, has a day job right here in kuala lumpur but when night falls, he morphs into one hell of a pizza chef!

been there twice so far and the pick has to be "tony's special". sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, capsicum, olives... etc plus his own recipe of tomato paste and lots of lots of mozzarella... my wife's favourite is his calzone, the "folded" or "pocket" pizza.

it is also the first time i tasted pizza with bird's eye chillies! yes! so is this a malaysian style? i asked tony and he told me he did this back home in italy too. the addition of bird's eye chillies add a dimension to the taste. it sure complements well with the mozzarella!

yup, all this plus wine (tony will join you for a sip if he's not too busy), in a totally unexpected shop in a totally out-of-place neighbourhood - oug is a premodinantly chinese neighbourhood, more known for its choice of chinese food.

guess what? we were chatting and after picking up some tips from tony, i told him i bake bread. tony wanted to try them so i brought some the next visit. he seems to like it!

to get there, heard of steven's corner? the popular indian stall? pinos is just a few doors away. you can't miss it. colours of the italian flag could be seen from far away...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

movies i'll watch again and again... school of rock

i enjoy movies a lot. in fact i almost do not watch any tv at all, except for dvds. so figured why not share some of those movies which i'll watch again and again?

hey, if i'll watch the second, and third time, there has to be something to it right?

alright, will start off with a decidedly low-brow recommendation...

school of rock. wont repeat the plot here. read about it in its wikipedia listing.  

if you love music, you'll enjoy this movie!
if you love rock music, you'll love it!

especially classic rock. there's ac/dc, led zep, cream and all the works.

varoius scenes were really memorable. i like the part best where jack black asks the students for their musical influence. what we have is... christina aguilera, liza minelli and puff daddy.

his response? what shit are you kids listening to these days?  exactly!

so like the ac dc song... for those about to rock, we salute you!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

have not been experimenting much with bread these days...

... probably because i've been baking the same recipe over and over again!

can't seem to tire of current favourite. with more practice and experience, every loaf is getting more and more consistent! also, realized that we have gone 100% white flour free!

100% no white flour, wholemeal and rye bread
  • 3 cups of wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
  • 1 cup of rye flour
  • 1-2 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 tsp of instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 1 cup full of seeds - sunflower seed, pumpkin seed and flaxseed.
  • approximately 2 cups of water
have been using the same  recipe above for couple weeks now. only differ in the technique.

  1. if you have time... try the biga method. mix 1 cup of rye flour, 1/4 tsp of yeast and 3/4 cup of water. let it sit overnight (12-16 hours). then mix the rest of the ingredients the next day.
  2. if you don't have time at all. use the same above but increase to 1 tsp instant yeast. go for single rise.
  3. if you have some time but not too much. then mix all the above. let it sit for 3 hours or until doubled in size. then stretch the dough and let it sit for another hour. go for 2 rises.
in all cases, i don't knead at all! there's not much gluten as there's no white flour at all so save your energy. instead let the yeast, water and father time do the work. you'll notice the dough will be kind of wet anyway so you still want to knead this glob of mess?

err, the amount of water is just a rough guide. the dough should feel kind of wet. if it looks a bit dry, add 2 tablespoons of water. in any case, should you decide you need more water, add in increments of 2 tablespoons.

before baking, sprinkle a liberal dose of seeds on top of the dough. some rolled oats look really good too!

as before, bake in a covered tin pan at 180C for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes.

sorry, no pics. by the time i finished this loaf, it was kind of late. but it looks not much different from the other loafs of the approximately same recipe.

the current economic crisis is forcing companies to retrench people...

 ... like this.

the financial crisis is forcing companies to make tough decision.

there is a risk that we might need to lay off Andre...