Greeted by the terrible haze upon reaching KL. Cough cough cough, welcome back.
When we arrived, chef Tan was almost done with her cooking. Totally pampered. All we did was help her serve and get our tummy juices boiling! Her dishes looked and smelled absolutely delicious. Guess which was my plate? My friends should know this within a glance haha.
Nope. Chef Tan did not buy this from a restaurant, but cooked it from scratch. One of the best home cooked butter chicken dishes I had ever eaten. Cooked with a whole lotta love. The chicken fillets were fresh, and each piece was coated with a thin batter to add texture and flavour, absorbing in all the buttery goodness. If there wasn’t anyone watching and I am eating this alone at home, me, myself and I would have no problem at all whacking every single piece of it.
Nope. This was also not bought by Chef Tan from Duck King, although it looked remarkably similar. I was amazed that she cooked it, and yes.. with a whole lotta love too! The fried chopped leaves were fried to perfection and kept warm in the oven until serving time. The vegs were also cooked just about right, not too soggy and not too hard. YUMMMMMMMMS.
Assam squid by Chef Tan, cooked following a recipe adopted from an online cooking site. Say, what?! From the way the squid slices looked, you could tell that it was home cooked. Restaurants would never bother to ensure those squids looking so pretty and evenly sliced. They were also nicely cooked, not too chewy and the spiciness from the assam gravy was perfect. I waved an invisible white flag, surrendering to the almighty home cook chef!
This home cooked dinner party ended sweet! The best part about eating fruits at home, you are well assured that the host would serve you nicely ripened and sweet fruits, unlike the crappy overpriced ones you get in Chinese restaurants, usually soaked in sugar water and thrown in with a ton of ice cubes.
Oops! The sweetness didn’t just end there! Sweetness factor just went up to a whole new level. Chocolates from a famous locally made chocolate farm brand in Australia, “Kitchen Garden”, known for its quirky and unique combination of flavours, using only home grown, hand picked produce and hand crafted.
When I first saw “White chocolate with figs and fennel seed”, I paused and looked again. Fennel seeds? Wah. Must try….
Outcome? Hmmm..acquired taste. The first bite was “feels like eating dhall chocolate”. The fennel seeds were a little overpowering for my liking and I guess I am boring when it comes to chocolate because I love them being plain jane.
The next Kitchen Garden chocolate test! Hazelnut chocolate with fiery peppers. Looked pretty normal looking, unlike the earlier white one, but THIS chocolate, is the ideal chocolate to have, if you ever get yourself stranded in a snowy mountain, or trapped in the cold. One piece, would leave your throat burning up like drinking a hot, spicy, peppery soup. Pee poo pee poo! Fiery alert!
Oh yes.. yes… not to forget the utmost important factor for a great dinner, wine! Courtesy of the connoisseur chic, who starting drinking since 2 pm. Not sure if she was ENTIRELY sober. haha. We opened a Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir (cannot go wrong with that), and proceeded on with a pinotage. My first time drinking, medium-bodied, with some berries notes and vanilla. Pretty decent and easy drinking, developed more after airing a while.
We were, yes… a litttttttle goner, by the 3rd bottle. struggled to finish the last quarter. We should have started with this first, and end with the Pinotage or the Cloudy Bay. The palate was rather bland with this one, but it became better after leaving to breathe for a while. Perhaps, it may also be influenced by us drinking the other two first, and along the way, we were eating those funky chocolates.
It was an awesome night, of catching up, with great food, great drinks, great friends. The rest of us were feeling a little stressed now, cooking to serve at that quality, ain’t easy! Better start practicing now!