August 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
On board the TurboJet catamaran en route to Macau, I mentally planned our next few days in a city best known today as a high-rolling-casino-lover’s haven. Not by any means my cup of tea, but there is more to this glitzy casino city than just the sin and the bling. Although heavily dependent on gambling, Macau’s real attraction (in my opinion) has always been the food. As an ex-Portuguese colony, Macau has married Asian and Mediterranean in its culture, architecture and even in its cuisine.
The flavors of Portugal intermingled with the Chinese and strongly influenced by the Southeast Asians, Africans, and South Americans has brought out a real fusion between East and West and has evolved to what is known today as Macanese cuisine. The result is earthy and rich in texture, flavor, and aroma.
Macanese food aside, the presence of raved about, quality establishments worthy of a Michelin star or two scatter around this peninsula making Macau a dining spectacle it is today.
First off our agenda: Dim sum
On the 2nd floor of the east wing of Hotel Lisboa is Portas do Sol. Contrary to its name, it is a “typical” Chinese restaurant, well-lit with a lively atmosphere, serving dim sum dishes as well as Chinese haute cuisine with season specialties. The extensive dim sum list reveals familiar and unfamiliar but exciting dishes. Mostly from the Chef’s recommendation, the dishes we chose were as ambrosial as its presentation.
Clockwise: Steamed rice flour with preserved vegetables and barbecued pork, Steamed river shrimp dumplings flavored with basil, Deep fried wonton in sweet and sour sauce, Deep fried spare ribs with garlic and honey sauce, Deep fried diced garoupa in mustard sauce
Then we walked down the street to a small alley. Tucked away in that alley is a small café selling the much talked about egg tarts. Creamy custard centers, slightly burnt caramel, buttery flaky crust – no wonder Margaret’s Cafe e Nata has queues any day of the week… well except Wednesdays, which was when we first found this hole-in-the-wall, darn! I found myself walking the same route from Hotel Lisboa the next day. I walked down Avenida Infante D. Henrique, passed the Grand Lisboa, crossed Avenida de Joao IV and veered right on that street until I saw a small (Margaret’s Café) sign pointing into an alley. I followed that sign and joined the others in the queue and in less than 30 minutes, I was skipping my way back to the hotel with four pieces of exquisite Portuguese egg tarts to be devoured at the comfort of our room with some leftovers, which held up well for breakfast the next day.
A Crossover from Hong Kong
This upscale restaurant has branches in Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai. Chef and owner Tao Hwa Yan, once an apprentice to a legendary Cantonese Chef, Master Lee Choi, opened Tim’s Kitchen in a quiet street in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong in 2000. Bringing with him the techniques he learned with the master, the restaurant started as an on-site private dining serving traditional Cantonese cuisine. In 2007, Stanley Ho invited him to open a branch in Hotel Lisboa in Macau. With both HK and Macau branches currently given a Michelin star, Tim’s is not cheap but worth a visit.
The waiters know their menu, and although we failed to order their (pre-ordered) signature dishes, the recommended succulent baked pigeon with preserved veggies wrapped in lotus leaves had us licking our fingers.
Other just as good dishes recommended to us were: Sautéed scallops with fungus and chives with XO sauce, Fried rice with minced beef, onions and shallots, and Pan fried pork pie with salted fish.
Trade in the gilded casino floor at the Venetian for a quaint cobblestone lane lined with Portuguese styled pastel townhouses in Old Taipa Village. In one of these houses, at the corner of Rua dos Clerigos is Antonio.
Not easy to find, we wandered around way before lunch hoping to get a table. And in a small Alley, we chanced on some Filipino restaurant staff who happened to be taking their breaks from THE Antonio’s kitchen. With their help, we managed to get ourselves a table. Antonio Coelho has been preparing authentic Portuguese food in Macau since he relocated in 1997.
Arroz de Pato – shredded duck, rice, and preserved sausage baked into a flavorful, aromatic dish. A signature dish not to be missed.
From Left: Clams in white wine and olive oil, Pork Tenderloin steak, Portuguese style served with fried egg, a pitcher of Sangria.
Following the hearty meal, we wandered around the old village.
In a corner, near the Pak Tai Temple, we see a line forming but much as we would love to try Tai Lei Loi Kei’s famous Pork Chop bun, dessert appeals more than the bun. This will have to wait. So we walked back to Antonio to where he opened a café across.
We found our corner and ordered 2 amazing desserts to die for.
The Serradura is as velvety as this one and the orange roll is a perfect combination of moist cake, orange liqueur and caramel. Did I say to die for?Portas do Sol 2/F East wing of Hotel Lisboa, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau For reservations call: (853) 8803-3100 Margaret’s Café e Nata Edificio Kam Loi Rua Almirante Costa Cabral, Macau Tim’s Kitchen Lobby Level East wing of Hotel Lisboa Avenida de Lisboa, Macau For reservations call: (853) 8803-3682 Antonio Rua dos Clerigos No. 7 Old Taipa Village, Macau For reservations call: (853) 2899-9998
March 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Credits: Papers by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit and Crystal Wilkerson from the Room Collection kit; Elements by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit for the lace, Ezane from ScrapMatters’ Life’s Little Surprises kit for the journal.
It’s not just another Saturday – it’s the 3rd Saturday since I moved to my new place. It has been 2 weeks of unpacking, arranging and cleaning whenever I’m home.
Today I declared a cleaning and arranging time out. I just want to rest and appreciate my new home. To celebrate my moving in – so to speak, I invited some friends over for dessert and coffee after dinner. I’m not ready to invite them for the real deal. Kitchen still not ready for that, or should I say, I’m not ready for that… haha!
Anyhow, I made tiramisu, my 2nd attempt actually. The first one failed because I used our local broas – you know the one I used to make this. It went all watery on me. The broas was too light, it soaked up a lot of the espresso;
I went and bought this instead. It’s much denser and holds well when soaked in liquid.
What you need:
- 3 large Eggs, with yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 8 oz. Mascarpone
- 20 Lady Fingers
- 1 cup Espresso or Strong Coffee
- 2 tbsp. Cognac or Brandy
- 1 cup Cocoa
What you do:
1. Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon Espresso, sugar, and Cognac into the large mixing bowl.
2. Beat 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add Mascarpone and beat 3 to 5 minutes until consistency is smooth.
4. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
6. Pour rest of Espresso into a flat dish, dip one side of each Lady Finger, and layer on bottom of serving dish.
7. Spread 1/3 of the Mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa.
8. Continue layering and finish with a Mascarpone layer.
9. Sprinkle with cocoa and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
This is the way to dazzle, I must say. A no bake dessert that is impressive in flavors – it’s the Cognac. Simple enough allowing me lots of time before dinner to relax and enjoy the flat.
December 25, 2011 § 1 Comment
Christmas is here and I almost missed it. It has been crazy catching up with work, fixing my new flat, buying presents, getting together, family reunions… I could go on and on. So forgive me, if you will, for not posting a recipe this month.
I’m making it up now by featuring a yummy dessert I got as a present this Christmas. It’s called Sans Rival Chips and it’s brilliant for the season especially when you’ve had too much to eat. These chips sans the butter is a great alternative to a sans rival craving… perfect for the season.
Have a Blessed Christmas everyone.Sans Rival Chips Fudgies by Jenny S Contact: (63) 917-888-1122; (632) 852-0557
September 7, 2011 § 2 Comments
A few months ago, I hurt my back that rendered me useless for a few days. “Move around”, a friend suggested. Good advice except that with my tiny studio loaded with all sorts of junk I couldn’t really move around much. I had this crazy idea to bake – crazy because I could hardly stand up, much less bend. I did it anyway as I had longed to make some scones with the dried mangoes and candied ginger I purchased a while back. The scone recipe I learned from a high school friend, now a chef. It produced scones that are crusty on the outside but light and soft (almost creamy) on the inside.
Quite a versatile piece of cake, bread, biscuit or whatever you might want to compare it with. While some like it with tea as a snack or dessert, I prefer it with coffee for my breakfast. Whichever way you have it, there are endless combination you can do with a basic scone recipe, truth be told. I once combined dried cranberries and chocolate chips. I have in mind to try it with bacon and cheese for a savory treat someday.
Mango and ginger however, is the best combination I’ve made so far. Sweet, slightly sour from the mango, hot and spicy from the ginger – a wonderful union, I must say. Great scones aside, it actually alleviated that nasty ache.
Mango and Ginger Mini Scones
What you need:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup dried mangoes, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup candied ginger, cut into small pieces
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 200˚ C
- Mix all dry ingredients.
- Add the heavy cream to get a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly.
- Flatten dough to ½-inch thick.
- Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with some sugar.
- Cut into wedges and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crusty.
June 28, 2011 § 3 Comments
I gravitate towards desserts that have fruit on it and blueberries are an absolute favorite. On my recent trip to Sagada, they were in season and I got around 4 cups worth of blueberries and wished I got more. These wild berries lack sweetness and the skin is on the tart side when eaten fresh. Make them into a jam or in my case, compote and they are to die for. Lovely on yogurt or pancakes.
With the remaining compote, I made trifle. I initially used store-bought rum cake in lieu of sponge cake. It was either the cake was too dense and didn’t soak up the blueberry sauce or pound cakes are just too heavy for a trifle. It was dry and heavy. I also omitted the Grand Marnier because I didn’t have any.
Credits: Quickpage by K Pertiet
So on my 2nd attempt, I used broas, our local ladyfingers, which is airy and light. I liked this version better. Lighter and fruitier. I remembered that I had a 2 cl bottle of Kirsch, it was fabulous. It added a dimension to the trifle and actually brought out the flavor of the berries. What came out was a light enough fruity dessert to end a similarly light meal of fish or chicken.
(Adapted from Joy of Baking)
What you need:
- 8-10 ladyfingers (depending on its size)
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch
- 1 cup Blueberry compote or sauce
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4-5 crushed Amaretti cookies
What you do:
For the Mascarpone Cream:
- Place the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Whip until soft peaks form.
- Arrange ladyfingers in the bottom of a clear glass bowl or trifle glass (if you have).
- Sprinkle ladyfingers with about 1 teaspoon of the spirit.
- Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the blueberry compote/sauce on top of the ladyfingers.
- Cover the sauce with a few of the fresh blueberries.
- Place a large dollop of the mascarpone cream mixture on top of the berries.
- Repeat the layers, starting with lady fingers.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours to allow the flavors to mingle.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with some crushed Amaretti cookies. It will give it a good crunch.
May 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
They were in season and I asked the guide to reserve me 3 paper plates – that was how they sell them at the Saturday Market in Sagada. A plateful is about 1 cup. It was market day but we were also on our way to Bomod-ok falls hence the need to reserve or run out. These wild blueberries are grown on the slopes of Mt. Ampacao usually during the months of April and May. Due to the short season, these local berries go fast. The locals usually make pies and jams from it.
I made a sauce, more like a compote actually that went well with pancakes, ice cream and even a trifle, which will be for another post.
Local blueberries are not only found in Sagada but are usually gathered from the pine forest of the entire Mt. Province. Compared to their cooler climate cousins, these berries are a bit tough on the skin. Also a bit more sour but packed with more flavor, me thinks. While stewing the blueberries, the fragrance filled up my entire kitchen. The blend of sour to the sweet sauce added a welcome dimension, bringing out the blueberry tang.
What you need:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. cornstarch
- Pinch of ground cinnamon or throw in a bark
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Zest of ½ a lemon
- 2 tsp. lemon juice (depending on your preference)
What you do:
- Place the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir until smooth.
- Stir in the blueberries and place the saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook the sauce until the liquid thickens and becomes clear.
- Taste to see if there is a need to add more sugar or more water if a thinner sauce is desired.
- Let cool and then cover and refrigerate.
Makes about 1 cup.