Ribena Lemonade

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Unusual but refreshing.

A lemonade pours on a hot, sizzling afternoon is most welcomed. The piquant taste of citrus wakes up any sleepy heads.

This Ribena Lemonade is Agnes’s usual serving, especially when we have plenty of children or non-alcoholic adults. Luke and I, fall soberly in this constituency.

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When life gives you lemons, don’t fret. Make a lemonade.

To draw out the lemon juice easily, always keep them at room temperature. They yield a greater amount of tangy juice.

For this lemonade, a large lemon should be sufficient. Half the fruit to draw out the juice and the remaining half, we slice to add as decorative.

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Ribena is a black currant syrup, commonly found in any household here in Malaysia. I guess, you tend to feel less guilty pouring in a grape cordial then white sugar into a lemonade. It’s psychological, no doubt. But it works. You tend to imagine that you are consuming less sugar. For those sugar and calories conscious freaks, you can moderate on the amount of Ribena used.

Pour in a cupful of ice cubes. Use larger ones as they tend to melt into pretty little ones when poured into glasses.

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I made a quick dash to the garden and pick 2 sprigs of peppermint. They not only add colour to the jug of lemonade but gives a tantalising hint of mint. Generally, if you like your cocktail carbonated you can pour in a litre of soda. Margaux and I are not big fans of gassy stuff, so we just make our lemonade with water instead.

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I call this the shy drink. None of the ingredients here overpower each other. They are a great team, working to bring out a state of cohesive taste. You get to taste the lemon and grape juice with a hint of mint, all in a gulp.

You can be adventurous though, put in a can of lychees with syrup in replacement of the Ribena and a whole new lemonade to enjoy.

nasi ayam ala briyani

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“But I’m starving,” said the wife while we’re stuck in a traffic jam on Kerinchi Link and the fuel indicator wouldn’t rise to the occasion.

“but what if the car stalls 200 meters from home?” said I.

There are 3 gas stations along the 2km stretch between here and the house, so why can’t we fuel up first?

“But I’m starving.” said the wife.

By the time we reached home it was indeed late and Margaux was starving as well.

Okay, 30 minutes, I told myself, you have 30 minutes to prepare a dinner for the 3 of us, you hear?

So, the usual “one-pot solution” came to mind and we have chicken, and we have rice, so naturally it’s gonna be chicken rice, right?

But chicken rice of what kind?

We all love the Hakka style chicken rice but that requires a copious amount of grated ginger and Margaux doesn’t like to have ginger in her mouth; but she could handle crushed ginger coz she could remove them from her plate.

And so I started crushing garlic and ginger, with their skin on, and browning them in the deep cast-iron pot, with some sea salt, on very low fire.

While the garlic and ginger were browning in the pot, I started washing the basmathi rice and an idea came to mind: bryani!

Margaux’s first encounter with bryani was at Auzani’s sister’s wedding banquet and she couldn’t stop eating it, and I have “tapao” bryani for her a couple of time since then.

But bryani is a time-consuming meal to make, and I have 30 minutes.

And so I started boiling the rice in a pot of salted water, and when the rice was half-cooked, I removed it from the stove and drained the water.

I then mixed the chicken with the now browned garlic and ginger, spread them to cover the bottom of the cast-iron pot, and then added the half-boiled rice to completely cover the chicken.

Fearing the rice might lack flavour, I added a huge chunk of butter at the top of the pile, and sprinkled some sea salt on it.

And then another idea came to mind: eggs!

And so that’s how the 3 eggs landed in the pot as well.

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hakkachan

I knew it back then that it will take more than 30 minutes to cook that meal, and I was secretly hoping that they wouldn’t mind waiting if I keep them entertained. But I was no entertainer.

  

Margaux loved the meal, but wifey and I knew that we should’ve let it cook for another 10 minutes to be perfect.

But we were starving.

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hakkachan

Guest Chef: Egg Benedict by Luke Ding

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Luke and Lisa, are the closest friends Stevie and I shared. Before we were married, we hung around most weekends watching a movie, out for a drink or simple dinner in the city. We married, a couple of months apart and soon to be neighbours. Am looking forward to the proximity, lots of feasting and chilling out again.

Luke, though born in Sitiawan, was brought up in Melbourne Australia since he was 9. A natural in the kitchen, learned culinary art and worked for several years in Atomica Caffe, Melbourne before coming back to Kuala Lumpur. Joint ventured with his brother James and opened Providore, a warm little restaurant tucked in Solaris serving the finest Mediterranean and Italian dishes. It has been a year or so since they have moved on full swing into distributing quality confectionery products in Malaysia.

          

This Saturday, we are opened to surprises. After cooking all weekdays, the Chan’s are eager to host a guest chef to display his culinary skills while we sit back and enjoy a little.

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Overjoyed when Luke disclosed that he was going to cook his signature dish, Egg Benedict. The idea of runny egg yolks served on warmly toasted Thomas English muffins, with a generous helping of hollandaise sauce, warmed our hearts. Luke came with the best ingredients so as not to compromise on the deliverance of a simple but great dish.

Each platter was served with a toasted muffin, cut into half, served open. A twirled, crispy and tasty bacon set on the muffins. Carefully, 2 poached eggs (yes, sinfully indulgent) were laid on top of the bacon. Our Egg Benedict came accompanied with Sautee Mushrooms and Asparagus Spearheads Wrapped in Serrano Ham. Before serving, each dish was drizzle with lots of creamy, eggy hollandaise sauce.

EGG BENEDICT

Recipe for 5 persons

INGREDIENTS:-

  • 10 poached eggs
  • 10 slices of streaky bacon or canadian ham
  • 5 English Muffins
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Sauteed Mushroom – optional
  • Serrano Ham Wrapped Asparagus – optional

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POACH EGGS

Method:-
  1. Boil a small pot of water and add in some white vinegar.
  2. Crack an egg a time into a small ball and gently drop into simmering water.
  3. When white is solidify, scoop it out with a ladle.
  4. Do not overcook, a perfect poach egg has runny yolk.

SAUTEE MUSHROOM

INGREDIENTS:-
  • button mushrooms
  • balsamic vinegar
  • rosemary
METHOD:-
  1. Use mushrooms whole or cut into desired size.
  2. After frying bacon, use leftover oil in pan to sautee mushrooms.
  3. Add rosemary and some balsamic vinegar for taste.
  

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:-
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 stick or 250gm salted butter – melted
METHOD:-
  1. Over bain-marie, combine the egg yolks and white wine vinegar.
  2. Gentle whisk over the bain-marie.
  3. Pour in the melted butter, bit by bit and continue whisking till you get the favoured consistency.
  

SERRANO HAM WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

INGREDIENTS:-
  • serrano ham
  • asparagus spears
METHOD:-
  1. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for a quick one minute.
  2. Drain water and rinse with cold tap water.
  3. Transfer to a grill pan and drizzle some melted butter.
  4. Let cool a little and wrap with ham.
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hakkachan

A fan of english muffins, Agnes is seen hogging some.

  

A western comfort food eaten the kampong style here.

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