Sunday, November 26, 2006

Taking Cooking Class With My Bestfriend

On the way to my cooking class, I passed my best friend ( "W" ) parents' home and that gives me an idea, so I whipped out my cellphone and called her to see if maybe she will like to go to the cooking class with me. Surprise...surprise, she wasn't at home but she was in her parents' home and she has nothing to do on Saturday. So I made a U-turn and picked her up!

We were late, but not that much, so we can still understand what the teacher taught us but I couldn't get the front seat, so sorry guys....I don't have great shots of the teacher.

Today lessons are:
  1. Opera Cake
  2. Chocolate Mousse
  3. Chocolate Ornaments

I chose this class because for me, Opera cake looks so complicated and time consuming to make. I was right about the second one but actually after I saw him made it, it was not as hard as I was afraid of. Yet.... I am too lazy to make it because it's just too hot! If my kitchen is air conditioned like his classroom then I will no doubt try to make it at home!

Not surprisingly, I met one of the 3 ladies that never stop talking in the classroom ( for this story, please read my story here ). She is still as talkative as ever with her new found friends at the front! But this time I couldn't complaint because I was talking to my best friend too a lot!

This is why ...

"W" doesn't know much about cooking and this class is just beyond her understanding, so I have to explain to her about everything!

When I saw her copied my notes to her recipe papers, I just laughed. I asked her if she feel any dejavu at all, she was confused. Then I reminded her of our childhood when we always went to the same tutors and she always copied my notes too, hahaha. Is just like the old days again.

At first "W" was skeptical that the cake will taste good but once she took a bite of the cake, she was very impressed by it.

The teacher is the pastry chefs at Shangri-La Hotel, Mr. M. Nur Kalim, and since I have bought that cake 1 month ago, I was very happy to know that now I know how to make it!

Pic: My piece of Opera cake and my best friend's

I am sorry to say that I don't think is right for me to write his recipe in this blog. I just found out that I should not do that. So sorry guys....

For the recipes that I wrote in my previous entry from my First Cooking Class, well... I still left them the way they are because I think it's too late anyway.

But don't worry, for the second recipe, the Chocolate Mousse, I will give you my own recipe.

Pic: This is the Chocolate Mousse that the teacher made.

The recipe below, I got it from Martha Stewart Everyday Food.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4; Prep time: 25 minutes; Total time: 3 hours
For a simple garnish, shave chocolate from the side of a chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler.

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1. Finely chop chocolate; reserve. In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, quickly whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.

2. In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

3. Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

Note: To store mousse, place a paper towel under the plastic wrap (without touching mousse) before sealing for refrigeration. The paper towel will absorb the drops of condensation that might otherwise drip onto the surface.

For the last lesson, I went forward to video taped the teacher when he made chocolate ornaments that we can use to decorate a cake. He taught us the easy ornaments only. Then he asked us if we would like to try, one girl took the chalange right away and she did pretty well.

Like the olden days again, "W" always push me to do something. She told me to try making the ornaments too while she took over video taping me doing it. Like usually too, I did what she asked me to do but because she made me nervous ( by keep telling me that I should do a better job that the first girl! ) I made the ornament slightly too big and when I said to the teacher ( with a soft voice ), "Oops, I think I made it too big...", one old cranky looking woman said ... " Yeah... it's as large as the maker! " Jeezzzz.....

I thought this would be a great blooper movie for my blog because "W" was standing and holding the digital camera right next to that old bird. So before I started saying things that I would regret later to that old woman, I just rush back to my chair . Then I grabbed the digital camera from W's hands and I found out that because she never use a digital camera before, she failed to recorded that !

Oh well .... welcome to Surabaya, a city that full with "polite" people ...

Anyway ....

Once the teacher finished, we went out and did grocery shop together in Ranch 99 Supermarket first before we went out to eat in this brand new restaurant, Sushi Tei at Galaxy Mall. "W" told me that this restaurant is a branch from her favorite sushi in Singapore. Her father loves it so much that when ever he went to Singapore, he has to eat in that restaurant every other day!

I was pleasantly surprise when I saw this place, no wonder "W" loves it, it looks very nice and after tasting their food, I have to agree with her that this restaurant is really good. Even their price I think is okay too.

Beside the 2 of us, "W" invited 3 of her sisters and her 2 daughters to join us for lunch.

Here are the pictures of the food that we ordered at Sushi Tei Restaurant.

Pic: My best friend's younger sister.

Pic: Sushi rice with raw salmon sliced on top then coated with mayonaise with seaweed sprinkled on it. Then they use broiler or maybe blowtorch to grill just the top only and leaving the salmon stay raw.

But since I have to rush home before 3 PM for a meeting with my father and husband, I have to say goodbye to them and went home.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The House of Sampoerna

Last week, my father took all of us plus his best friend and his wife to a brand new restaurant called The House of Sampoerna.

Situated in “old Surabaya”, this stately Dutch colonial style compound was built in 1858 and is now a preserved historical site.

Previously used as an orphanage managed by the Dutch, it was purchased in 1932 by Liem Seeng Tee, the founder of Sampoerna, with the intent of it being used as Sampoerna’s first major cigarette production facility.

This complex consisted of a wide central auditorium, two smaller buildings in east wing and occidental and some wide barns with one floor behind central auditorium. The buildings that stay in both auditorium wings is then turned into family house, whereas big barns looks like a warehouse exploited for tobacco and clove processing, to catch, stick it and packing, printing office and finished goods processor.

Today, the compound is still functioning as a production plant for Indonesia’s most prestigious cigarette, Dji Sam Soe. In commemoration of Sampoerna’s 90th anniversary in 2003, the central complex has been painstakingly restored and is now open to public.

The original central auditorium is now a museum and the east side has been transformed into a unique structure containing a café, a merchandise kiosk and an arts gallery. The building on the west side remains the official family residence.

House of Sampoerna (HoS) Museum offers a truly unique experience for visitors. From the story of the founding family to closely watching a real hand roll production facility and ending up with an unforgettable experience of rolling a stick of Dji Sam Soe cigarette. You can join 3,900 women in this plant, hand-rolling cigarettes using traditional equipment. They do it at a speed of more that 325 stick per hour.

Shop Museum in HoS offer is assorted souvenirs, such as; the miniature of stick equipment traditional cigarette, package, clove, books and shirt.

Kiosk in House of Sampoerna ready to supply you with various goods choices such as; cup, shirt, jacket, ashtray, hat, bag, etc. This goods suited for used for you also for a souvenir.

With Art Deco touch, free creativity glint and the history, cafe offers an experience to dine unique. Ally original tin glass and teak panel carve that aged a century with modern design is cleanness. Multifarious occidental appetite dish and Asian drawn up to be special to gratify visitor appetite, even for they who a real critical to taste. At certain night, life music will accompany your diner.

Artistic Gallery
Dedicate with refer to exhibition of best Indonesia actor masterpiece and provide place to all cute young actor to perform their masterpiece. This Gallery presents certifiable masterpiece which only available to display and also to be sold.

Group Of Sampoerna Businessfont
Sampoerna is build convergent at tobacco and clove business. This company is one of cigarette producer (tobacco and clove) most fast growing and the eldest in Indonesia, the fourth biggest cigarette market in the world.Build in 1913; Sampoerna is the first Cigarette Company stepping into Jakarta stock exchange. Sampoerna have successfully developed its business for its cigarette to various regions outside Indonesia and do diversification inside the country, in distribution area and transportation, printing office and packaging and retail merchandising and grocery.

Pic: Inside the restaurant

Pic: At the first room of the museum

Enough of the company's explanation, let's go back to my story there. Okay, when we were offered to choose wether we like to eat a'la carte or buffet, like the glutton that I am, I chose buffet. There is not much that I can say about their food because I think they are just okay. I want you to remember though that when you come here, you pay for the atmosphere more than for the food itself. On the opposite of me are my parents and their best friends who chose to eat a'la carte. I guess they are okay too. The only surprise was when I tried the pasta. I know that their pasta is far from authentic but for some reason, hey...I like it! The secret I guess is that they use chicken buillion/stock in their pasta sauce. Maybe to boost the flavor even more. What can I say.... a freshly c0oked pasta is always good!

The next day I tried to immitate the flavour and I think I succeeded. This is what I did to make it even taste better. First I roasted my chicken with basic flavour such as :

thyme + garlic + black pepper + salt + olive oil

Then I use my rotisserie oven to cook it to perfection. Then when it has rested long enough after it's cooked, I cut them into cubes, now they are ready to be added into my pasta.

For the pasta, I use penne cooked to al dente.
For the sauce, this is my formula:

butter + thinly sliced onion + cream + milk + tomato sauce + Italian seasonings + chicken powder + freshly cracked white pepper + parmesan cheese

When the sauce is already mixed well with the pasta, then I add back my chicken cubes. Oh , if you think the sauce is too thick or too creamy you can always add the pasta water. Voila! I made the same taste of pasta like the one I ate in The House Of Sampoerna, only better off course.

Cooking pasta is not that difficult. It's all about keep tasting and keep adjusting the taste

Here is the picture of my pasta:


All of my family loves this pasta and I hope yours too...

Anyway, let's go back to the story about the museum this time. I can only say good thing about it. It's a well plan museum. I guess they want to make sure that it can reach to all of your 5 senses. When we entered it, we were hit by a strong smell of cloves. Then my son can touch and feel the cloves. Later when we saw over a thousand of workers busy as a bee rolling the cigarettes by hands the old fashion way, we were quite speechless. It was an amazing sight! We can hear the sounds of their hands rolling and packing the cigarettes in such amazing speed! I guess if we are a smoker maybe we can even taste it too. Even though my family are all non-smoker but it's still a good thing to come to this place and see the way a big company works and how it was started from such a humble beginning. There are a lot of good lesson that I can teach my son from this museum.

We sure had a great time in this place.

Pic: My son standing in front of the old printing machine

Pic: Standing in front of a replica of cigarette street vendor.

Pic: The founder replica original food stall

Pic: The lab

Pic: Cloves are used to make this ship

Pic: The House of Sampoerna's Restaurant

Pic: The entrance to the museum

Pic: The dress and the jewelry that the founder's wife wore before.

Pic: The house of Sampoerna

Pic: Bronze statue on the museum

Pic: At the gift shop inside the museum.

Pic: All kind of awards that Sampoerna's ever received.

Pic: The amazing sights of 1300 workers making cigarette and packing them into the cigarette box.

House of Sampoerna
Taman Sampoerna 6
Surabaya 60163

Tel. +62 31 353-9000
Fax. +62 31 353-9009


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crispy Chinese Cruellers ( You Tiau )

If you ever eat Dim sum, you must have seen this delicious food. The better the restaurant, the lighter is their texture so that you can eat tons of them before you feel full! Yum!

There are many ways to it You Tiau. You can eat it straight off course, but it also fun if you dip it into sweet soy bean milk and even salty soybean milk ( Do Jiang ).

You can also filled You Tiau with dry shredded pork ( Abon ) then wrapped the You Tiau with rice sheet. Eat it with soy sauce, sesame paste, and chili paste.

The variation on how to eat You Tiau is just endless...

Couple days ago in search for my son's Chinese costume in Surabaya's China town I saw this store that sell You Tiau. I like it that they show you how they shaped, stretch, and fried them right in front of your eyes.

On how to make it at home, here is the recipe ...

Pic: You Tiao and the salty soybean milk

Crispy Chinese Crullers ( You Tiau )

6 cups ( 1 1/3 lbs ) high protein flour
2 cups water

2 tsp. ammonium bicarbonate or 1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. alum ( food grade )
1 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Place ingredients of (A) in a mixing bowl; add water and stir until the ingredients have dissolved. Add flour and mix well; let stand for 15-20 minutes. Continue to take some dough around edges and drop it into the center of the bowl 3 or 4 times until the dough is elastic and smooth. Turn the dough over and lightly coat the surface with oil so that the dough will stay moist. Let it stand for 1 hr. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap; wrap the dough and form it into a rectangular shape. Let is stand for 4 hours. If a large batch is made, cut the dough into several 1 1/3 lbs pieces then wrap each pieces in a sheet of plastic wrap.
  2. Unwrap the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough and stretch it into a long strip. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape. 3" wide and 1/2" thick. Crosswise cut the rectangular shape dough into strips 1/3" wide. Put 2 strips on top of each other; use a thin rod ( skewer ) or the back of a cleaver to press lengthwise in middle of the strips; this will attach them securely to each other. Follow the same step for the other strips. Heat the oil for deep-frying; pick up a strip from the ends and gently stretch it to make it longer. Carefully drop it into the hot oil and turn it over continuously with chopsticks until the crueller expands and turns golden brown; remove.

To eat You Tiau with salty soybean milk, here is how ...

Place the crispy You Tiau, dried shrimp, Szechuan pickled mustard green, green onions, coriander, pork sung ( dried pork shredded/ Abon ), vinegar, chili oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt in a medium size bowl. Pour the boil soybean milk into the bowl and serve.

Pic: Szechuan pickled mustard green

The You Tiau may be placed in split " Flaky Sesame Flat Breads " or Shao Bing. This way is my husband favorite way to eat You Tiau.

Sweet Rice Flour Porridge ( Bubur Manis Madura)

This coming Friday, my son school is going to celebrate International Day and on that day the children are encourage to come to school in their traditional costume of their nationality. We chose to let our son to dress up in Chinese costume in respect to his his father who is a Taiwanese. So off I go with my mom and her best friend plus her daughter to Surabaya's China town or Surabaya old downtown. There there is a wholesaler+retailer mall called Pasar Atum. It's a very messy mall with a very bad floor plan because they basically built the new wings here and there based on needs and land availability. I don't like to come here because I know I won't be able to find my way out from this maze! That's why we need my mom best friend to guide us because her flower shop happen to be near this mall so she knows the lay out of this mall and where the right stores are for our need.

Actually if you are good in remembering the lay out this mall and you have the patience to walk everywhere to find what you want to buy ( I don't!!! ) this is a great place to explore because they pretty much have everything that other more fancy malls have but with a much lower price tag! They also have a lot of delicious street food in there. Nothing fancy but good.

After going to several stores we found out that since now is not Chinese New Year, those children clothing stores only have enough selection for toddler 4 years old and below and nothing for my son's size which is for 7 years old, so we decided to just buy the material and custom made it! This is the beauty of living together with a company that have to provide a lot of service for our customer. Needless to say, if I need to made Halloween's costume ( like the Peter Pan costume that my son wore for last Halloween ) and even this Chinese costume, I just gave it to my employee to make in her spare time. Ditto for home improvement stuff.

Right before we hopped into our cab, I saw several "Bubur Madura" sellers all line up , so I have to stopped there because I miss to eat this dessert! It cost Rp.6000 , about US $ 0.60. The one I like is the less colorful one, I don't remember what they called for the other type that is more colorful. I bought one of it too just to taste but I still like my first choice better.

Pic: Bubur Madura sellers in Pasar Atum.

Pic: Prettier but not my favorite.

Pic: I prefer the less pretty one, the one in that clay bowls.

To try making this dish at home, you can try this version, a simpler one:

Sweet Rice Flour Porridge

200g ( 1 2/3 cups ) rice flour
1 1/2 L ( 6 cups ) water
50g ( 1/2 cup ) freshly grated coconut -- you can buy it frozen from Asian grocery store
1/2 tsp salt

Palm Sugar Syrup:

185 g ( 1 Cup ) palm sugar, finely chopped -- you can substitute it with dark brown sugar or you can use the Mexican Cane sugar that usually being sold in the grocery store in a shaped of a cone.

Pic: Piloncillo - Panela or Panocha Cane Sugar by Corona

250 ml ( 1 cup ) water
1 pandanus leaf, torn lengthwise and tied in a knot -- again, you can obtain this leaf from the frozen section in Asian grocery store , it also comes in an liquid extract form in a tiny bottle in Asian grocery store.

  1. Combine the flour and water in a mixing bowl and mix well. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Place in a non-stick saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time until it thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Combine the grated coconut and salt in a bowl, and mix well.
  3. To prepare the Palm Sugar Syrup, place the palm sugar, water and pandanus leaf in a small pan and simmer until the mixture is slightly thick and syrupy. Strain into a small jug or bowl and set aside.
  4. To serve, spoon the rice flour porridge into individual serving bowls and top with a little grated coconut ( mixed with the salt ), followed by a drizzling of Palm Sugar Syrup over it.
Serve 4 to 6

To make palm sugar, this lady has to boiled down a big pot of the sugary liquid and it takes 20 palm trees to make that one pot.

This is a picture of a man making the palm sugar by using bamboo to give this sugar traditional shape.

Later after he unmold them, he can cut them into smaller size like this picture here ...

Pic: A different shape is also common, this type is usually shaped into like a bowl.

Pic: A more modern Palm sugar now is available in stores. Here in Indonesia, we usually called Palm sugar with different name, we called it Gula Jawa which means Java Sugar. Different type of palm sugar is also called Gula Aren. They taste the same to me.

When I was small sometimes my parents took me to Solo in Central Java, when we were there we like to visit their biggest wet market and buy some specialty food. One of them was this palm sugar. I think their palm sugar is the best, I still remember that I love to nibble on it. Palm sugar has a more complex taste than cane sugar or even dark brown sugar. Truly delicious.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Taiwanese Sha-Cha Beef Fried Noodle And Indonesian Seafood Fried Noodle

Moving closer to Taiwan is really making my husband "R" missing his food even more especially because he can't adjusting that well with Indonesian food. Part of the reason why I am not that good in cooking my own food is because "R" doesn't really like the way Indonesian food taste and since cooking Indonesian food actually is a lot harder than cooking Chinese food, I prefer to cook Taiwanese/Chinese food more than my own food. This thing has been going on since the first day we started going out, which means a decade ago.

"R" has been dreaming to eat this Taiwanese Sha-Cha Beef Fried Noodle for awhile until he even dreamt of it! I took pity of him so I went to a grocery store myself to buy him 2 bags of boiled yellow noodle from Sinar Supermarket.

When I showed it to him that now he has all the ingredients to cook his noodle, he happily cook on his own because he doesn't want to take a risk that I will change the way this dish suppose to taste. So since I don't have to be the one holding the cooking spatula, I can hold this camera and record him cooking his noodle. He cooked a lot of it at one time because he is planning to eat it tonight and even until tomorrow. Poor him .... missing this dish so much ...

Here is the recipe ...

Sha-Cha Beef Fried Noodle

800g ( 1 1/2 lb ) boiled yellow noodle
200g ( 7 oz ) beef
400g ( 14 oz ) water convolvulus or any other green vegetable that you like

2 T. each minced green onion, sha-cha paste
2 tsp each minced ginger, minced garlic

1 Cup stock
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

3 Tbs water
1 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp each oil, soy sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp sugar

  1. Shred beef thin, and marinate in (B). Discard tough fiber of water convolvulus, was clean and cut into 3cm sections.
  2. Heat the wok, add 2 Tbs oil and heat to hot; stir-fry beef until color pales. Add in vegetable to fry slightly. Remove.
  3. Heat the wok again, add 2 Tbs oil and heat to hot; stir fry (A) until fragrant. Add in by order of noodle, (C), and beef; stir fry evenly and heat well. Serve.

NOTE: Sha-Cha is Chinese BBQ sauce. For a Taiwanese BBQ sauce, they usually comes in a can.

Beside this noodle that "R" made for dinner, I also made 2 other dishes. One is this appetizer made with thousand year old eggs, silken tofu, and I also made pepperoni cheese pizza for my mom who is a big fan of my pizza together with my son.

For the appetizer, you don't need a complicated recipe. First, wash the silken tofu and then dry them with paper towel. Sliced them into more manageable pieces , same thing with the tofu, sliced them into smaller pieces. Arrange them in the plate. Then chopped some green onion, cilantro, chilies, then sprinkle them on top of the tofu and eggs. Sprinkle some bonito flakes if you have it on hand if not you can just skip it. Then this is the most important ingredient, you need to have soy paste, as far as I can tell, the only store that sell this soy paste is Ranch 99 supermarket in Galaxy Mall. They carry organic one that cost Rp. 67.000 ( $ 7 ) and the normal one that cost Rp. 19.000 ( $ 2 ). The choice is yours. First mixed the soy paste with some sesame oil then drizzle them on top of the egg and the tofu. Voila, your appetizer is done. See here? I just love easy recipe for a quick dinner.

Pic: My pepperoni cheese pizza

If you like to make this pizza, you can check out the recipe by clicking the pizza's name above.

Just for comparison, yesterday we went to Novotel hotel because "R" wants to swim while I chose to lay and get a full body massage with extra foot massage ( life is good! ). When we are done, we chose to eat buffet in that hotel. Since we are kind of late for dinner, most of them food are already cold so I can't say that I enjoy them very much, except 2 food that they cook in front of us. One of them is Seafood Fried Noodle. The other one is Steamboat food, they are pretty much like shabu-shabu. You choose the ingredients that you would like to eat then they cook it in a soup for you. Last time I saw them made Indonesian dessert in front of their customers. I guess they change their menu a lot to keep their buffet interesting.

Sorry if the picture and the video is not that great. The lighting is bad because it's outdoor.

Pic: Chocolate roll cake, apple strudel, and chocolate covered eclairs

Pic: Novotel's Seafood Fried Noodle

Vid: Cooking Seafood Fried Noodle in Novotel Hotel

I found this Seafood Fried Noodle at this website. It sounds more interesting than the noodle that I ate , so if you like to try it, go ahead and I hope they will taste as good as I think they will.