Wednesday, October 26, 2016



Some of the beautiful doodling arts along the walls of the LRT station.

This was the weekend that my collegue said "Never work so hard in my life (working) before". But it was good to be out of  the office and working as well.   

artwork along the tunnel at Masjid Jamek station. 

Saw this cow along the roadside during our lunchtime. Later I saw 2 dogs guarding him, no they were barking at the birds that came to steal its food. 

We met again at the LRT Station this time when going home... 

Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Figs Chutney. 
Normally I would buy chicken breast for soups. Nowadays, I removed the chicken fillets or tenders from the breast and reserve them for something else as I felt these tender parts are best for cooking rather than for soup. So when  the reserve grew, its time to cook them.   I marinated these fillets with some pre-mix  the tandoori spices overnight.  I cooked them  just 2-3 minutes each side on the grill pan and they are ready to be served.   Sarah's friend gave us a bottle of figs chutney which tasted amazing and its delicious with the juicy chicken fillets.



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hanoi Trip# Last Day - "GROTTE DES SUPRISES"-

This is the captain of our cruise... 
We were introduced to him only on the day of departure... all this while he was handling the cruise in his little cabin in front of the boat, unnoticed by all of us... a big round of applause for a job well done to bring us safely back to the mainland. 

Woke up early as I tried to catch the sunrise...

this was all the sunrise that I managed to catch on photos..everything still quiet and peaceful 

The chef preparing breakfast for us... 

After breakfast, we were taken by speed boat to the island of the Surprise cave..

Sorry my photos did not do credit to the beauty of the cave..too dark!
Sung sot Cave is one of the largest and most spectacular caves in Halong Bay located on the Bo Hon Island. The cave has 2 chambers. As you enter the outer chamber you will be awe by the high ceiling and wide space and thousands of stalactites and stalagamites and these rock formations really stretches your imagination as the guide pointed them out. 

the inner chamber is so huge that it is said to be able to hold thousands of people at a time. 

the rock formation of a turtle  in the foreground...

natural light flowing in from the mouth of the grotto

Looking down from the entrance of the cave at 25m above sea level... that's where all the boats converge and the journey to the cave begin.  It was a really good morning excursion.

We were taken back to the cruise for our lunch prior to departure. 

While waiting for lunch, the chef gave us a lesson on vegetable carving.  

No problem guessing which were done by the chef and us... hahaha.
After a light lunch including fresh spring rolls (sorry, photos were missing), it was time to bid adieu to the crew and captain and our BEST guide for the cruise.
We checked back into the same hotel for the night. The holidays was in full celebration and the whole city area were closed for traffic and there was a huge night market going on.  After our dinner, we wandered along the night market, had Vietnamese beer at the famous Beer Street, was too full to join the Vietnamese for their hot-pot/BBQ stalls but we managed to get these..... 

Vietnamese coffee...

The next morning the driver took us to the airport for our flight back to KL. 
Bun Cha- noddles with grilled pork in dipping sauce @ the airport..

Tuesday, October 4, 2016



No knead baguette

Over the long weekend I had planned to do my style of banh mi after my Hanoi trip. Unfortunately I was not feeling well after eating a plate of fried kway teow with cockles. I had the same problem years ago and since then have been rather cautious of not eating this as much as possible.   

Anyway I have been inspired by my Hanoi trip recently to try to make this banh mi.  First to make the pate.  I had goggle a few recipes and some of them use minced pork as well as chicken liver.  In the end, I decided to make a small portion with chicken liver and use my favourite recipe from Flavours magazine. 

Only 5 chicken liver, cleaned and remove all veins etc.  Soak them overnight with 1 cup of milk which is supposed to increase the creamy texture of the pate.  

Next day, drain, rinse and diced them. Saute onions, minced garlic, mixed herbs, add the diced chicken liver.  Splash some white wine and let it simmer till liver is cooked.  Let cool and then blend them with some butter (around 8 tablespoon)  and season to taste. 

sealed the top with some melted butter and freeze them if not using immediately. This was done on Saturday.

I prepared the No-knead baguette in the evening and left the dough overnight in the fridge for not more than 16 hours. Divide the dough into 3 buns and baked them on Sunday morning.  I was indeed satisfied with the buns. 

I had also prepared some pickled cucumbers, carrot and daikon with rice vinegar and sugar to stand by.

Next, I marinated 3 square cubes of pork belly (which I had in the fridge) with blended mixture of  ground cumin, spring onions, garlic, salt, pepper and fish sauce overnight.
I used the Happy Call pan to grill the pork belly on Sunday.   After cooling, slice them into thin slices and again use the grill pan to light cook them before serving.  It is advisable to use pork belly without the skin  as it was rather chewy after cooking.   

Ready to plate. 

Split bun in half, spread with mayonnaise and chicken pate. 

Top with the pickled cucumbers, carrot and daikon.
Next you can add some  fresh herbs and sliced lettuce on top (which I do not have) and also some nuoc cham sauce.  

Finally the slices of grilled pork belly

Verdict:  I can taste the creaminess of pate and the pickled veggies was good with the grilled meat. 

Monday, October 3, 2016


Happy Independence Day, Vietnam. 

After breakfast,  we checked out of the hotel and departed for our cruise in Halong Bay. The driver just dropped us off at the marina and we made our way to the office to check in. However we were informed by the tour office (The Glory Legend) that they did not have our bookings! 

Jumping with joy.... a private cruise to ourselves...

After seeing groups of tourists leaving for their cruises and waiting for almost an hour, things were eventually sorted out and we were able to board the Halong Phoenix Cruiser.   The government here have  very strict and proper embarkation rules and regulations including submitting photographs and passports and without the approval, the captain would not depart from the marina otherwise if he is caught by the marine police, his license could be revoked and the poor fella could be without a job!   
The guide told us that the charges for this private cruise is around UD$5000 per nite.. aren't we so lucky, its a bonus out of the misfortune!  
Look at the certificates adorning the wall..

the elegant dining room. 

enjoying the view @ the sundeck upstairs... 

In no time, they were able to prepare a light lunch for us..... 

refreshing salad

It was a very enjoyable lunch..

After the delicious lunch, we checked out our cabins for the night and this is one of the artworks along the corridors. The cabins were spacious and clean with attached bathroom as well. A reminder here, DO NOT throw any tissue papers into the toilets otherwise!!!  The guide told us that there is a very strict regulations on waste disposal for all cruisers.. everything is packed up and sent back  to the mainland where they have a special waste disposal system.  This is to ensure that the Bay remain clean and unpolluted (of course now and then you can still see a rubbish or two due to the carelessness of the tourists)  and everyone can enjoy  the Bay.   He told us that it was a different story a few years back if we were to visit Halong Bay then.   It was polluted and contaminated and rubbish floating everywhere.   The government decided to resettle the fishing community and moved them to the mainland;  impose strict regulations on the cruises plying the bay and also have a proper waste disposal system to the mainland  and these efforts definitely paid off as you can see from the beautiful landscape around the Bay now.  

Time to cruise Halong Bay.... "descending dragon bay"  it was declare a UNESCO heritage site in 1994 

The guide told us that there are 1969 islands surrounding the bay.. easy to remember because 1969 the year the first man walked on  the moon and 1969  the year, their beloved president Ho Chi Minh died.  

The clusters of limestones islands form a very impressive landscape with the emerald clear waters  

My girls preferred to go kayaking instead... 

notice how the colour of the water changes as we get near....

This is a popular tourist destination located in the heart of the Bay. 

The island is named by the President Ho Chi Minh after the Russian astronaut, Gherman S Titov when he first visited Halong Bay in 1962.  Surprising he visited the place again 30 years later.  

There is a beautiful white sandy beach but the must do attraction is ....... 

Yes, climbing up 400 steps to the view deck for.....

this magnificent panoramic  view of the bay. 

the mystical landscape with the setting sun.... 

back down to the beach....

As the sun began to set,  it was time to depart  back to the cruise for our tea-time......
refreshing fruits platter with coffee and tea 
the coffee was just yummy.... 

watching the setting sun on the deck 

The twinkling lights on the cruises all parked in the bay for the night.. 

The guide had prepared a special dinner for us tonite ......

his heart-felt apologies for making us wait for the boarding.......

boiled octopus served with the chili dip...

It was a truly delicious and happy meal. After dinner, some of us did tried squid fishing, but without success.

working out those calories .....
We had a wonderful jovial time in Halong Bay with the BEST guide (so patient and accommodating and jovial).  He is not your usual tour guide... but a talented young educated man(he holds a Marine Engineering Degree) He was unable to find a job with his degree, oh yes, he had plenty of offers from the people he met on the cruises (he is so likable!) but to leave the country he would really needs to pay a lot of money .... just wrong time and wrong place?  But he told us that he loves his job and most important he is passionate about his birthplace- HalongBay.  God bless him.