October 22, 2012

Chaokar is still around

Now it is coming the the fourth quarter of the year. And my last post was sometime in January.

Been occupying myself with quite a handful of activities actually. Took a change in career, moved back to the city from Penang, started a underground supper club, participated in street food bazaar and Pepper came into my life. Or more like, I bought Pepper from the pet shop.


Despite all these, I still cook. It is still my avenue for stress relieve. Here’s what I made last Sunday, 3 simple dishes.


I start with making chicken and cuttlefish stock. About 1.5 litres of water boiled with chicken carcass, ginger, coriander roots and a whole garlic. Pretty simply stock, and let it simmer for about 60 minutes and so on. The plan is to add in enoki mushrooms, grey oyster mushrooms and this leafy-seaweedy like leaf known as ‘tian qi’. The roots are usually used for herbal soup, but the leaves are great too. I add in stripes of pork shoulder cuts, marinated in soy sauce, corn starch, sesame oil and shaoxing wine. Just a quick blanch and it’s ready to be served. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.



And for the vegetable dish, stir fry kangkung with dried shrimps and sambal belachan. I always in need for a spicy dish in my meal. So in a hot oiled wok, fry the chopped dried shrimps (I soak them earlier to get it soft and to wash away the saltiness.  Then add in a chopped garlic and chilli and a teaspoon of sambal belachan (I cheat a little, using pre-prepped sambal belachan). When your eyes gets teary and the dog barks in excitement, add in the vegetables. A quick stir fry for about 2 minutes and season with some salt and soy sauce, and it’s ready.


And my last dish would be salt baked crabs. I bought two fresh live crabs and I have them cleaned and spilt into half. On a baking dish, I add in slices of ginger and a handful of Chinese parsley. Sprinkle salt and wrapped them up in aluminium foil and baked at 200’c for about 15 minutes. At the final 3-5 minutes, remove the foil to ‘grill’ it up.


And with a simple chilli + soya sauce dip, it’s finger licking good.


And, introducing Transaparent Apron Supper Club. I’ve been working on this project with my friend Nicklaus Au since late last year. Google and facebook us up for more info.

January 8, 2012

Il Bacaro @ Campbell House

So after a long day at work, I head out splurging on food to reward myself. Even though I’m in the island of hawker’s food paradise, I do miss good ol’ Klang Valley bakuteh (Penang bakuteh sucks) and the Westerns fares. I drove myself around and I came across this interesting shop house. It says Campbell House and there is this dainty Italian restaurant tucked away cozily  by the name Il Bacaro.

As I walk in, I love the tiles. The 19th century tiles, restored and geometrically arranged did thrill my OCB positively. Yeah, I’ve got this thing on organized stuffs and etc. And I like restored buildings. Since the UNESCO recognition, there’s a lot of restoration works going around and many of these building is being restored into charming landmarks.


And so, I ordered my dinner. A glass of wine, vongole al pepe, and pan seared salmon with wilted spinach. Immediately they set my table, served my wine and the bread. I am trying to make myself comfortable avoiding glares of other diners, as I hog away the only available table for 5. Well dining alone can sometimes be interesting, the waitress check on me frequently and attempted small talks which leads into introducing me to the kitchen crew and show me the whole place after my dinner. The wine wasn’t great, but the bread reminds me of steamed Chinese sponge cake, in a good way.


I love the attentive service and the timely flow of the entire dinner. I am guessing this 6 months old establishment has got a good food culturist advisor to begin with.

And next came the appetizer, vongole al pepe. Clams with white wine sauce is my all time favorite. And they have cook it well. All the flavours are right, well infused with fresh herbs and chilies. The parsley are home-grown herbs from their roof top.


And then came the main, pan seared salmon with wilted spinach and Béarnaise sauce. Love the crispy skin, but a teeny bit over salt for me. The sauce goes well together but the kitchen crew got to mind those bones I found tho.


After dinner I got a tour with my coffee and dessert was on the house. I chatted away with Eric, the person in charge of running the place. And I was lucky enough to be given a tour at the rooms on the first and second floor. The boutique suites and the restaurant is lovely, and topping up with lovely people that runs the place. And they change their menu on monthly basis, it would be interesting to check them out regularly.

Il Bacaro @ Campbell House
106, Lebuh Campbell,
10100 Georgetown,
T: +604 4261 8290
W: www.campbellhousepenang.com


P/S: By the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :P