29 February 2016

Melaka Feb 2016

On Friday evening, our family made an impromptu decision to take a road trip to Melaka! It's been a long time since we last visited so I was pretty excited =D

(Took only some photos as it's difficult with the kiddo around and I wanted to take it easy for this trip. Quite lazy to blog actually, so just some photos and captions with some highlights of the trip.)

Due to the terrible jam at Tuas Checkpoint (we were stuck for 1.5hrs, TYVM SG), we reached Melaka only close to midnight.

It was a glorious Saturday as we woke up to great sunshine! Lovely view from our Deluxe Lago Room at Casa Del Rio. This is not an advertorial, but seriously Casa Del Rio offers impeccable service on top of their luxuriously appointed room. Quote my kiddo, we are on a luxurious holiday!

Love the breakfast at the River Grill Restaurant, Casa Del Rio. We could order an item cooked-to-order from the menu, in addition help ourselves to the already sumptuous ala-carte buffet spread.

 Yummy Egg Benedict, look at the runny egg yolk oozing out!

 It's always nice to dine alfresco, enjoying the breeze and view over a slow and relaxing breakfast.

Lovely to stroll around the grounds of the hotel, admiring the architecture and scenery.

Iced gems biscuits, for guests to help themselves at the library.

 A contrast of old shop houses and modern high-rise buildings in the background.

 We stayed here a few times, this was the first time we swam, credit goes to the kiddo.

Refreshing to enjoy some chilled watermelon and iced cold lemon water after a swim.

 When in Melaka, must buy Gula Melaka!

 Intoxicating smell from the Gula Melaka.

 Guess how many kilos I bought?

Discovered a baking supply shop! It's always exciting to explore new shops and even better to find things to buy :p

Kinghin Sdn Bhd
89, 91 & 93 Jalan Temenggong
75000 Melaka

This shop is huge, great selection of bakeware, packaging and ingredients.

Who would have guess there's such a good restaurant hidden inside this place at the Portuguese Settlement? A few years ago, we came to Portuguese Settlement as we heard that there are several restaurants here serving Portuguese food. Went away disappointed as the food was mediocre, expensive and not even Portuguese. After chatting with Alan of Travelling Foodies, realised we went to the wrong place. We went to the row of restaurants at the next block of building, which is the common place where most people would go. The recommended place for Portuguese food is:

Big Ben's Restaurant Cafe & Cottage Industry
Lot 1 & 2 Sea Front
LimKokWing Academy of Creativity & Innovation
Portuguese Settlement
Big Ben: 016-4469077

** We made a phone call prior to going because they may not open every day.

So glad we made it here! The whole place was deserted and for a moment, I wondered if we were at the right place. As we ventured further into the building, spotted only a row of stalls/small kitchen with a couple of staff, whom were equally surprised to see people walking in (it was 1+pm, past lunch time). One of them was like, "Yes?", I asked "We are looking for Big Ben's Restaurant", and the guy broke into a smile and replied, "I am Big Ben!" Aha!

The restaurant is indeed facing seafront.

There wasn't any menu, and Chef Benildus (his actual name) told us he would arrange a simple set meal for 3 of us.

The first dish, the Devil's Curry, or Curry Debal, a popular dish of the Kristang (a community of people of mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry). Oh man! This curry was soooooo sedap lah! The sauce was so unique, spicy and fragrant, with just a tinge of tangy sweetness.

Ayam Cili Garam, I think is more of a Nyonya dish? I'm not sure, but Chef said this was one of his most popular dish, especially during catering events, always the first to be wiped out.

Indeed, the chicken was fried to a perfect crisp, yet the meat was so tender and juicy! The flavour of the spices was perfect and brought out the sweetness of the meat.

 This was a very interesting dish! Chef called it Brinjal Black Pepper. The sliced side of the brinjal was coated with a black pepper-salt-garlic concoction and fried, so it was super crispy, yet the flesh of the brinjal was so tender and juicy! There was a hint of lemon juice on the crispy surface, probably a splash of lemon juice just before serving? Super love this as well!

 Fish fillet in savoury sauce. This was prepared specially for the boy who couldn't take spicy food. Even a simple dish like this was perfectly cooked. The fish was first deep-fried then cooked in a sauce. The fish texture was tender and succulent and went very well with the sauce which was slightly salty with a tinge of sweetness. The kiddo enjoyed it.

We are definitely returning to try his other signature dishes, hopefully with more makan kakis so that we could order more food!

The Big Bad Wolf Mega Book Sale at MITC Melaka. Tonnes of books, especially children's books. Worth a visit for children's books. Quite a selection of cookery books but I only bought a few, not many familiar titles. Stayed only an hour as the kiddo was tired.

In the evenings, it's nice to stroll along the Melaka river bank.

The facade of Casa Del Rio.

 That's the Casa Del Rio Residences.

 Interesting street busker with a comical dancing donkey, who only dances to the guitar music and singing.

 For our dinner, we simply ate our way through Jonker Walk.

This particular fried radish cake was very popular, but the hb claimed it was over-rated after trying.

Assam laksa from a random stall. Surprisingly good, the noodle had a chewy texture, gravy was umami, spicy and sour.

Ayam satay from random stall. Surprisingly good as well, chicken meat was well marinated and tender, gravy spicy and sweet and the ketupat soft and fragrant.

 Late breakfast before checkout. The nasi lemak and sambal was really good!

The glutton in me ordered a Spanish Frittata (omelette with mushroom, tomato, capsicum, olives laid on fluffy white toast) on top of what I got from the ala-carte buffet. #fatdieme

The kiddo insisted on swimming after breakfast and before checkout. Might as well, a feeble attempt to work off my sinful breakfast.

 After swimming, feast on watermelon again.

Before heading home, a stop at Baba Charlie to get some nyonya kueh. Nowadays, they even designated car park lots for customers.

Doing a brisk business, mostly locals. Also saw tour bus parked at main road, and group of tourists walking in.

 Assorted kueh kueh and other popular Melaka products, like Gula Melaka, belachan etc.

 The open kitchen where staff were busy churning out the kueh. Nasi lemah, curry puff, fried noodles were also available for sale.

Kueh Pie Tee for takeaway.

 We love the Ondeh Ondeh here, it's soft yet chewy and when you pop one into the mouth, the richness of the gula melaka burst into the mouth! The coconut is steamed with some salt, complementing the sweetness, and the addition of toasted white sesame enhanced the overall fragrance of the ondeh ondeh.

The glob of golden gula melaka almost drooping off as I struggled to take a photo using my left hand :p

 Bought a bunch of kueh chang and a tub of sambal belachan. Yet to try.

A few assorted kueh and a curry puff with sweet potato filling. The kueh dadar was nice, soft skin and moist inti, abok abok sagu was not bad, but didn't like the Pulot Serikaya, texture too hard. The curry puff is interesting to use sweet potato as filling but a tad too sweet and not spicy enough.
Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake
72, Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2,
75200 Melaka

Discovered yet another bakeware shop about 5 mins drive from Baba Charlie.

Yami Bake Ingredient House
49-H Jalan Tun Perak
753000 Melaka

This shop is slightly smaller than Kinghin but well-stock nonetheless. 

Lastly, ending my post with my newly bought Nyonya Kebaya, complete with kerosang. The makcik patiently let me try kebaya after kebaya, so that I can find the colour that's suitable for me, then search the matching sarong :) Price is really reasonable, doubt I can find in SG. Loving my new outfit, have to find the occasion to wear it soon :p

Toko Che Ros 
No 27 Jalan Laksamana
(the 2 rows of old red painted shop houses near the Dutch Square, on the side nearer to river)

26 February 2016

Old dough method of making buns

I've been baking breads/buns from time to time, usually using the 65C water roux method or the Yukone water roux method, or even straight dough method.

But recently I'm hooked on using the old dough method which I learnt from this recipe book (bought in HK) called Bread of Water-roux, Sponge-dough and Old-dough Method.

The old dough method uses flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast, knead into dough and let it proof for one hour. Thereafter, divide into portions, keep them in zipped bags and then freeze for low temperature fermentation.

Bread made by this method is chewy yet soft, and I love the texture and taste. I find that the texture even improves the next day. It's very convenient as I can prepare a large quantity and just defrost when needed. In our humid weather, it takes 30-45 mins, so by the time I prepare all the baking ingredients, the old dough is ready to use.

(yields 330g of dough)

  • 200g bread flour
  • 3g fine sea salt
  • 3g caster sugar
  • 3g instant yeast
  • 130g water
  1. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and knead using dough hook until dough leaves the bottom of bowl and is smooth (takes about 15-20 mins).
  2. Round the dough, and place the dough back to the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and let the dough proof for 1 hour.
  3. Divide the dough into rounded portions as required. The total weight of dough is 330g so I divided mine into 3 bags of 50g, 1 bag of 80g and 1 bag of 100g.
  4. Make sure the bags of dough are sealed properly and store them in freezer. They can keep for 3-4 months.
  5. Before baking, remove from freezer and defrost for about 30-45mins before use.

So let's start making bread/bun using the old dough method! Here are 2 recipes using 80g and 50g old dough respectively. Proportion of ingredients and steps are about the same, except for the 80g old dough recipe, I added egg for a more chewy texture.

Bread using 80g old-dough  |   Bread using 50g old dough
(yields about 478g of dough)   |   (yields about 311g of dough)

  • 200g bread flour         > 130g bread flour
  • 80g old dough            > 50g old dough
  • 3g instant yeast           > 2g instant yeast
  • 30g caster  sugar        > 20g caster sugar
  • 16g milk powder        > 10g milk powder
  • 100g water                 > 90g water
  • 40g egg
  • 25g unsalted butter      > 15g unsalted butter
  1. Add all the ingredients except butter into mixing bowl. Knead using dough hook on medium speed until gluten is formed.
  2. Add butter and knead until thin membrane stage. Do the window pane test by stretching the dough, it will be almost translucent and not break.
  3. Round the dough, grease the bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and let it proof for 45 mins until size doubles. Poke a finger into the middle of the dough, if the hold stays, proofing is completed.
  4. Place the dough on a kneading mat, knead to remove air from the dough. Divide into number of portions as desired. Usually I will divide into 38-40g for buns with fillings. For mini burger buns, about 30-35g or for regular burger buns, about 50-60g.
  5. Round the dough portions, cover with cling wrap and let them rest for 10 mins.
  6. After 10 mins, the dough portions are ready to be used. If making round buns with centre filling like  minced luncheon meat or cream, roll the dough into circular disc, place filling in the centre and wrap the dough around the filling. Pinch the dough to seal properly otherwise filling may leak during proofing and baking. If making other shapes like spiral hot dog, roll the dough into a log and twirl it around the hot dog.
  7. Place the unbaked buns seam facing down into the baking tray lined with Silpat mat or baking parchment.
  8. Cover with clingwrap and final proofing about 45 mins.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 13-15 mins.
Window pane test to see if the dough can stretch to an almost translucent thin membrane. Upon reaching this stage, the kneading is completed and it's important to reach this stage so that the bread will turn out soft.

This is the brand of mini sausage I like to use for making sausage buns which my son loves. Here's a slightly different way of making the sausage buns like a flower. The sausage bun dough is 45g each, roll into oval shape, wrap the sausage fully covered then cut each piece into 2 portions. The centre bun (50g) is filled with some assorted shredded cheese.

Arrange the bun dough into a baking pan lined with parchment paper, drizzle some cheese mayo and mayo and ready to bake!

I thought the flower sausage bun turned out quite pretty.

This is my usual way of making sausage buns, by twirling the dough around a sausage creating a spiral effect.

I adore luncheon meat buns! Must use the Shanghai Maling brand! This is my way of making it, mincing the luncheon meat first before wrapping into the centre of the dough. I remember this is how my old neighbourhood bakery made it when I was still a pre-schooler :) Nowadays, most bakeries use chicken luncheon meat and whole piece instead of mincing. Somehow, it just doesn't taste as good. So from time to time I would make this very nostalgic luncheon meat bun for myself (hb and kiddo also likes it).

Have made several batches of bread using old-dough method now, I can go on and on, but this post is getting too long.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts, I will share recipe for cream cheese custard bun, as well as cafe-style gourmet burgers (the bread are using old-dough method as well).