Marriott Cafe Lunch Buffet – 1 for 1 with the Entertainer

Back to my buffet hopping days when I had another buffet session right the week after a previous buffet.
No choice, the Entertainer 1 for 1 was really too irresistible. Anyway, the application only have 2 buffet places – At Lime Restaurant (Parkroyal on Pickering) and the other is Marriott Cafe! The 1 for 1 applies to lunch, high tea as well as dinner buffet!

This time I had lunch with my friend who was super bad with his photography skills. Gosh, he had to retake my picture like 10 times before 1 decent one came out. Not again! I was once again too engrossed in taking pictures of all the appetizing food that I neglected taking a decent shot of the layout/interior! The place have been renovated, from a dim to a bright dining environment. No wonder it looked so different from the last time I came for its dinner buffet which was a few years back.

The usual starter for me and my friend would be the salmon sashimi, smoked salmon, szechuan salmon and the other salmon. Careful of high sodium content! There were the usual cold cuts, salad station, some cheese and a variety of bread which I did not take, fearing that they would take up too much stomach space. 
My #Fotd (food of the day, not exactly) shot which my friend took. 1 out of 10 shots passable…I supposed.

Just random pieces of different food for tasting purpose. If the food is to my liking, I would definitely go back for second and even third round. The usual laksa and a pasta station was available too.

Besides a selection of soup to choose from, there were also a couple of Korean dishes too! Bibimbap available too! Any Korean food fans around?!? 

For beef lovers like me, go for the medium rare slices of beef! I had 3 slices and I just love the tender chewy meat with blood tainted juices seeping out. Don’t go ‘eeewww’ on me…

The ice cream tasted inferior, like those from an ice cream cart along the roadside. Skip them if you do not want too much trans fat in your diet. 

I tried the whole selection of cakes available, but only posting the little red velvet cupcake just because it looked the prettiest. There were 6 cakes that came in rectangular log form, for self-cutting and looking like a pile of mess when you placed them onto your plate. 

The Entertainer application which I redeemed for the 1 for 1! Like a half price only after dividing by 2 with my friend!

Not to forget the selfie shot after the lunch buffet! I guess I should go for a jog soon! 

Parkroyal on Pickering – Lime Restaurant Dinner Buffet

Thanks to the Entertainer application, I get to enjoy the 1 for 1 voucher! 
Check out my previous post link for more information on the Entertainer!
A large wooden table packed with a huge variety of sweet treats is really a seductive way to welcome people into a buffet. Provided that you do not enter by the back door which my friend and I did…
I purposely did not zoom into the picture, just to leave you to guess what sort of dessert they were.

The interior was a blend of modern metallic and rustic woodenness, rather dim and lit up mainly by spotlights. The place was so spacious and the buffet spread was nicely spread out.  

I had a beautiful night view of the streets out there while my friend get to ‘ogle’ at a group of aunties (tais tais) in their seventies, celebrating an occasion.    

Nowadays I seldom want to blog about buffets since the dishes often rotate. (I have a buffet label at my blog’s side bar though.) I will just throw in some food pictures to satisfy your cyber hunger! A international buffet with seafood, bread, cheese, Japanese, Western and Peranakan.

The place was so dim that I had to place my plate right beside the table light to capture a clear shot.

Some of the Peranakan style food which tasted really yummy! Laksa, kueh pie tee, rojak and more…

While people love to take #ootd (outfit of the day), I would prefer to take #fotd (food of the day).

Sashimi indulgence! A must have for me at every buffet!
A peek at the some of the desserts available! I basically tried every dessert and the key lime tart was my top favorite, followed by the durian pengat and the strawberry ice cream! (Forgot to try the nonya kuehs…) 

How can I not resist to take a picture with this grandeur towering green tea fondue! 

Ending the post with 2 more selfies! The pathway with really comfortable seating  facing the outdoor!

Artificial leafy greens along the walls! Stay tune for the update of my lunch buffet at Marriott Cafe, also using the Entertainer 1 for 1 application!

Orh Nee Roll – My Rendition of Orh Nee

Decided to do up a post before going to dreamland to recharge my energy for a crazy day of work tomorrow! It is FHA week and the morning crowd is so CRAZY! Too bad my off days are after FHA and I could not go although I had complementary ticket from my chef. (Gave away the ticket already…) I posted about my last day of school and my presentation previously (click here to view) and below is the dessert I created. The recipe I used included if anyone want to try making it?  
(Picture taken from my school instructor’s album.) Nicely taken from his DSLR! 

A summarized version of my report (modified)
Orh Nee Roll is my rendition of the popular Teochew dessert that goes a long way back.
Orh Nee in Teochew means Taro Paste and memories of this dish come from attending
wedding banquets, where it is almost customary for it to be served as the last course in resturants.
The main ingredient used is yam, which is one of the oldest food plants known. It is also a common plant found around the rustic and rural kampung environment in the past. Yams are a good source of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6.
The other secondary ingredients used are coconut cream, pandan leaves, shallots and pumpkin seed (to replace the actual pumpkin flesh).   
Since the past, coconut cream is added to Orh Nee to enhance the flavor, giving it a creamier texture. As for shallots, when fried, they produce a fragrant aroma which would mask the undesirable smell of the yam. Pandan leaves are used as additional flavoring for the skin.
To further depict the kampong style, I choose to present my Orh Nee rolled up in light pandan fragrance snowskin, looking like a piece of home made traditional kueh. It is also to break the monotonous habit of serving Orh Nee in a bowl, looking like a pile of unappetizing dull looking gooey mess. The spongy texture of the snow skin with fried shallots and pumpkin seed provide a slight contrast to the rich creamy texture of the yam paste itself. This sweet as well as savory dessert is made from scratch, just like from the kampung days.


Dessert name: Orh Nee Roll (About 100 pcs)
(Adjust oil and coconut cream base on your desired consistency.)
Ingredient List
Yam Paste 
Fresh Yam        1200g
Caster Sugar        200g
Peanut Oil            300g
Shallots             15 no.s
Coconut Cream    600g
Salt                    A pinch
Snow Skin
Fried Glutinous Rice Flour (Kou Fien)          600g + (100g for dusting)
Icing Sugar                                                   750g
Shortening                                                    180g
Water (Cold)                                                 600ml
Green Colouring                                            Few drops
Pandan Leaves                                              100g
Method
1)      Peel taro and cut into thin slices. Arrange on a dish/tray and steam for 20-30 min until soft.
2)      Once the taro slices are out of the steamer, mash them up with the back of a fork, adding caster sugar at the same time. Taste and add more caster sugar if required. Tweak the level of sweetness to personal preference. Cover with clingfilm.
3)      Peel shallots and finely slice them.
4)      In a wok or wide saucepan, add oil and sliced shallots. Gently stir-fry on medium low heat until the shallot discs begin to brown and crisp up. Strain the shallots from the oil.
5)      Return oil back to the wok, turn down the flame to low. Add mashed taro paste and mix until well amalgamated. Taste again and add more sugar if required. Also, if coconut milk is used, it can be added at this point with a pinch of salt. Cut back the oil by half if so and add accordingly until the desired texture is achieved.
6)      Allow the taro paste to cool down considerably. Transfer into a food blender and blitz until smooth. Chill the mixture till firm.
7)      Sift the flour and mix with icing sugar and add into a bowl
8)      Blend the pandan leaves for its juice, add into the cold water with a few drops of colouring.
9)      Add shortening and water to the flour mixture, mix together to form a smooth dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.
10)   Roll out the dough into a rectangular flat surface, spread the taro paste across it and roll it up like a swiss roll.
11)  Chill before slicing into portion and serve. 

(I had my reference from http://travelling-foodies.com)

Finalized Bak Kwa

Quite an obvious delayed post on Bak Kwa since Chinese New Year had passed more than a month ago.
Anyway, this was the finalised version which tasted as good as the actual commercialised ones out there!
Tested and many tasted!! (For method 2b below) Satisfied!

I guessed this was the final form… 

My reference for different types of meat for Bak Kwa trial can be found here.

The second post on the more complicated version using dehydrator and smoking of Bak Kwa can be found
here.

The finalised version (the picture above):

Ingredients:

300g Minced Pork
1 tbs Thai Fish Sauce
1 tbs Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
120g Caster Sugar
1 drop of red food colouring
Method:
1) Marinated overnight (or a few hours, up to you)
2a)  Spread on tray, placed into the oven for 10 mins at 100 degrees. Flip over and place back into the over
       for another 10 minutes till a bit charred.
(Better Results)
2b)  After spreading on tray (your desired thickness), dehydrate using your dehydrator for 3 hours, medium
       heat about 55 degrees. (Want to dehydrate longer to remove more moisture also can.) After that, place
       it over a bamboo tray (for better results) and cook/smoke over charcoal, which is about 200 degrees 
       for up to an hour. Remember to oil your bamboo to prevent sticking. Grill on pan a while before serving.  

Bak Kwa Madness for coming Chinese New Year??

Chinese New Year is just around the corner tomorrow and I have been experimenting to make Bak Kwa
with my friend since the start of January.

I came across an article on New Paper – ‘Behind the scenes in a bak kwa shop’ which featured Lim Chee
Guan. There was even a video to give public a peek at its HQ at Pandan Loop. Obviously the secret recipe
was not included in this article.

My eyes almost popped out of my socket when I saw that 1kg of Bak Kwa was going for $50.00 at the
shop! Gosh! Those people have been queuing for hours too and they mentioned that it was worth the wait.
Is it a tradition that Chinese New Year means Bak Kwa time?

The link of the article can be found here.

Another article which I came across last Monday with the heading

HED CHEF EXTRA: How to make your own bak kwa
  

sparked my interest.
The recipe given was:

-1kg minced pork (shoulder butt)
-220g fine sugar
-1½ tsp salt
-1 tsp light soya sauce
-1 tbsp oyster sauce
-½ tsp five spice powder
-1½ tbsp Chinese rice wine
-Pinch of red food colouring powder

I guessed many people who tried making it would be greatly disappointed as it would never turn out the
same as those commercialized outlets like Lim Chee Guan, Bee Cheng Hiang or Fragrance Bak Kwa.

The reason of me writing this post was because I was a bit pissed off. I have already tried making Bak Kwa
even before this article’s recipe was published, using the oven, even with barbecuing, and the results was so off! It could be found on my previous post here. Not to mention the texture was not right too…

Notice the article’s recipe above contained sugar as the main sweetening agent? My friend and I did a batch
with only sugar and no honey (the recipe I used have), the taste turned out really flat! Honey not only
sweetened the Bak Kwa but also provides flavor. (Different brand, different flower, different flavor also.)
Be careful as honey is sweeter than sugar too.

Another thing that would happen when you place the marinated meat into the oven would be the oozing out
of marination which I experienced many times before. To prevent that from happening, I suggested using the
dehydrator which I did not expect my friend to actually buy it  

The same dehydrator that could be used to make fruit and vegetable chips! It cost my friend about $250.
Basically he dehydrated the marinated meat for about an hour, about 65 degrees (high). (Also have low
and medium heat options.)  

After that, the marinated meat is smoked with his own-made smoker, made from a 3 tier Ikea rack,
covered by some board used for artwork. (Sushi bamboo racks to place the marinated meat on.)

(Top view) An opening for smoke to escape and and thermometer to determine the temperature
of the smoking.   

Just a tin with hickory wood/charcoal to produce the smoke.

Final outcome of the Bak Kwa! Do not use hickory wood but stick to charcoal instead as the smokey
flavor was overwhelming. It made the Bak Kwa taste like Lap Cheong (Chinese sausages) instead.
The Bak Kwa was also like a sponge, absorbing all the moisture from my mouth, making it dry.
Almost there!!!!
(Everything stated is based on personal opinion ; open to suggestions and advice)