Monday, 31 March 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Spaghetti Meatball Day!

The desire to cook a meal for the team came up again, thanks to the suggestion of my colleague. Following the theme on using Spaghetti like in our last cookout (and wanting to use that last packet of dry noodles!), we decided that Spaghetti Meatball would be a lovely refreshing lunch in sunny Langkawi. 

So this is how we did it. 

Spaghetti Meatball A-la Razee.

Ingredients, for 15 pax easy,

The Meatballs
  • Ground Beef, 1 kgs
  • Onion, fine diced and sauteed in oil to soften
  • Garlic, 2 pips, diced and sauteed in oil with onions
  • Jacob's Plain Cream Crackers, 10 pcs, crushed to be used as 'breadcrumbs'
  • Eggs, 1 or 2 depending on how 'wet' the ground beef is
  • Dried Chilli Flakes, 1 tbsp
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 3 tbsp
  • Salt & White Pepper, to taste.

Mix the raw ground beef with everything except the eggs. Test the consistency of the raw mix when shaped into balls. Add 1 or 2 eggs only if the mixture seems too firm. Remember that meat will firm up further upon cooking. We wish to have meatballs with a bit of bite to it, not rubber ball hard and certainly not gloopy squishy meatballs too. Taste a bit of the raw mix to test for saltiness. It should be perfectly seasoned. 

Once happy with the flavour, shape up the mix into small balls about the size of a large Kalamata Olive or Cherry Tomato. You can go larger if you so wish, but it will larger sizes take longer to cook through.

Heat up some normal cooking oil (corn or palm oil is fine), enough to coat bottom of pan. Cook meatballs on medium high heat to caramelised. Set aside. 

Pour the frying oil into the Tomato Sauce pot. All that oil has been infused with the powerful flavour and aroma of beef. Waste this not!

The Sauce

  • Onions, about 400gm, roughly chopped into 1 cm cubes (i like em chunky!)
  • Fresh tomatoes, about 1 Kgs, chopped into cubes, skin, seeds and all.
  • Garlic, 2 whole cloves, chopped
  • Prego Italian style Tomato Sauce, 4 small cans
  • Tomato Paste, 4 tbsp (the thick, sour kind)
  • Bird's Eye Chillies, 10 units, sliced or chopped (remove seed for less Fiyah!)
  • Whole Black peppercorn, 1 tbsp, cracked
  • Dried Chili Flakes, 1 tbsp, crumbled into sauce
  • Dried Oregano, 1 tbsp
  • Chili Sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Salt & White Pepper, to taste.
Saute chopped onions in a large pot until soft, add in the whole lot of chopped tomatoes and sweat until nice and cooked through. This will take a good 5 minutes at least. Do not rush this by cranking up the heat. We want the onions and tomatoes to sweat not catch.

Add in garlic and give the pot a stir or two. Add all of the canned pasta sauce as well as the tomato paste. Leave to simmer. Stirring once or twice to prevent scorching (the high sugar content of the sauces can burn). Simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate.

Stir in the chopped chillies, dried chili flakes, and chili sauce. What I am after here is the layering effect of spiciness on top of the sharp sour tang of the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so. If sauce appears to thick, add in a half or 1 cup of pasta cooking water (or more, to your liking). Throw in the dried oregano (or whatever pasta herb you happen to have, this recipe is sufficiently robust to take on even strong herb-y additions).

Adjust the seasoning to taste. Ideally, this Pasta sauce should be sharply sourish (this is a Tomato based pasta sauce tip I learnt from the Palladinos, a wonderful Italian couple in Australia during my flying days), merged with a Malaysian desire for a smouldering heat of chillies in the background. When ready to serve, tip in the shallow fried meatballs into the sauce and reheat once over. Do not over stir. 

The long slow cooking coaxes the multiple flavours into a cohesive yet layered one.
The addition of the pasta cooking liquid apart from thinning it down also adds a wonderful shine.

The Pasta
  • San Remo Spaghetti, 2 packs, cooked to al-dente, drain, 
  • Garlic, 3 pips, sauteed in 3 tbsp oil

Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instruction and drain. Set aside in a large bowl/plate. Reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid to thin Tomato sauce. While pasta is still hot, speedily saute the chopped garlic in the oil. Add in salt & pepper into the oil and while still hot, pour it all onto the drained hot cooked spaghetti. Stir the garlicky oil through the pasta. Ready to serve.

This is a cheat method to sauteing the whole pot of cooked pasta. It will prevent stray noodles all over your stove top. You know what a bitch it is like to clean grungy pasta off a hot stove hob right?

  • French Loaf, sliced and spread with garlic butter and toasted till crisp (easy enough right?).
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Crisp & crunchy!

To enjoy, simply scoop up a portion of garlic 'sauteed' pasta onto a plate. Ladle on the thick Tomato Meatball sauce on top. Slap on a piece of Garlic Toast and sprinkle on some grated cheese. 

Have it your way!
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Our Growth Story

The video is finally out! Or rather, I finally get to see my performance on that recent video shoot I did as the newest member of the Rhr Hospitality Sdn Bhd family (back then of course, when I was still new, haha!) .

I must say it turned out quite well - real people, real passion and real sincere love for doing what we do!

Here it is for viewing. What do you think? For more info and what we do as a company, please click here for details.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Perlis Day Trip: Suri & Min's Wedding Do!

Bunga Manggar.
Got the invite to an old friend/colleague Suri's wedding last month. One of the crazy like minded lil' fuckers from my former work place. 

I am not necessarily a person who loves going to these kinds of fetes (mainly due to busy body relatives, going 'Awak bila lagi?'), but I simply couldn't say no to her invitation. 

Booked a ticket on a morning passenger ferry out of Langkawi to Kuala Perlis and the journey commenced. 
This here is a boatload of people! Rm18 per ride too, cheap!
Once back on the mainland in KP, I opted to wait out the morning at Putra Brasmana Hotel close to the Jetty. I was suitably impressed by the size and perfect location. The staff at the reception were pretty nice too. They let me crash there while I wait for my other friends. 

Le lobby shoppe!
Not too shabby huh? 
Putra Brasmana Hotel
A bit later, I took a cab to the wedding venue and was surprised by a group of the nicest people from my PSID days. Camwhoring ensued!

Malu konon!
Akak dah kahwin!
Good friends! 
At about 1.30, the Groom and his entourage arrived. A fairly sizeable group too. 

Seeing wifey in the distance!
Last minute preparation & amanat adat.
My fave picture of the day. She looks so delighted!
Then I lunched. It was SO good it was ridiculous (and so caught up I was in the enjoyment I totally forgot to snap food pics!).

As was customary of kampung style kenduri, plain white rice and lauk pauk was on offer. Gulai Kambing with Batang Pisang, Kurma Daging dan Hati Lembu, Kerabu Taugeh dan Kerang berkerisik, Sambal belacan dan ulam terung bulat, what I think was Rendang Serai (Sambal Serai) and Acar. For dessert it was homely Bubur Chacha with wheat grains, corn nibs and sweet potato. All washed down with cool, cool Sirap Ros. Oof!

Pemanis/Buah tangan for guests being prepared.
Haha! Caught in the act!
Main Table for the Bride, Groom & family.


Happy chubbies!