16062017 / Alter Ego

This was my third visit to Alter Ego since it was established. I was not extremely satisfied with their customer service over my first visit but there were obvious improvements since my second visit which I did not pen down. They were having a photo shooting at the time we were there yesterday evening. So, half of the cafe was secured for photography purpose.

Mocha | B$5.50

Chocolate | B$6.00

As I am on a no coffee diet, I opted for Chocolate. It was pretty good for my liking despite being tad bit sweet. All in all, I liked that it had a smooth texture.

Vanilla Choux | B$3.50

I ordered this to share as what they were offering for desserts yesterday evening did not appeal to me. I had tried most of them apart from this. The whipped cream was rather heavy for me and we only managed to finish a small portion of it. The Choux pastry tasted slightly salty in my opinion but I do have to agree that I love the presentation. It looked cute to me.

Alter Ego
Unit 2 & 3, Block E,
Ground Floor,
Setia Kenangan 2,
Kampung Kiulap,
Bandar Seri Begawan, BB1518,
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +673-2230388

Of Random Things #109

I was craving for Asian style stir fry noodles the other day. A colleague of mine once told me that Italian pasta makes a good Asian stir fry noodle as well. And off I went to buy my favorite pasta – Penne. I boiled half a packet of Penne to al dente, scrambled some eggs and added brown button mushrooms with some shredded cabbages.

So, this was how my Asian Stir Fry Penne turned out to be. Actually, it was Mom who cooked this entire dish as I only helped with boiling the pasta. And yes, we added some spring onions too for a more Asian touch.

Parents commented that they preferred Spaghetti pasta more than Penne. I guess different individuals have different preferences. I will get some Linguine or Spaghetti next time if I were to make this again.

Baking #138: Champion Sweet Potato Bread

I just had my first coffee after banning myself from having it for more than a month. I had been craving for coffee lately and I finally caved in today. I made myself a cup of 3 in 1 instant coffee and it felt so good the moment I took the first sip. It felt as if I was reborn. I know, exaggerating much. LOL!

Anyways, I made Champion Sweet Potato Bread yesterday evening after coming home from work. I intended to use purple sweet potato as that was what the original called for but I could not find any decent one. The readily available ones were not good enough to be consumed. So, I made do with orange sweet potatoes.

Unfortunately, this bread was not as successful as compared to the Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread which I baked the other day. The dough was hard to manage after it went through first stage proofing. They stick onto my hands badly and I had to use loads of bread flour to get them off my hands. By the end of the day, the bread was rather dense due to the excessive usage of bread flour.

Champion Sweet Potato Bread (adapted from LY’s Kitchen Ventures)

If I were to bake this again, I would save all the hassles and bake the entire bread with the bread machine rather than oven bake. It saves time and frustration dealing with the sticky dough. LOL! Mom claimed that I should have reduced the liquid as mashed sweet potato itself was rather wet despite not as wet as mashed pumpkins.

Ingredients:

  • 198g milk
  • 200g sweet potato, steamed and mashed into puree form
  • 24g sugar *raw sugar*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15g butter
  • 300g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, sweet potato puree, sugar, salt, bread flour and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Pasta Dough) and press START. Once the kneading cycle for Pasta Dough has completed, reset the machine to setting (Dough) and press START.
  7. Wait for the bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the dough from the bread machine after it was done with first stage proofing.
  8. Divide the dough into three or four equal pieces, shape them into balls and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Using a slightly floured rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll them into log shape. Place the rolled dough with the seams facing down into a slightly greased Pullman tin and leave them in a warm place for second stage proofing until it reaches about 90% height of the Pullman tin.
  10. Cover the Pullman tin with the lid (slightly greased) and bake in a preheated oven of 200 degree Celsius for 40 minutes or until the bread is thoroughly baked.
  11. Remove bread from the Pullman tin immediately and leave to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

The bread was rock hard when freshly out from the oven but turn softer the next morning. Texture wise, I think it turned dense due to the excessive dusting of bread flour to make the dough more manageable while shaping.

Despite the slightly denser texture, I liked what I am having. Taste wise, it was not as sweet as I anticipated it to be. I think the addition of one teaspoon of salt balanced out the sweetness.

Sungkai Buffet Review: Verve Caffe

This was my second Sungkai dinner for the year of 2017. I had been to Flour & Butter Cafe with Jennifer for their Eat All You Can promotion earlier this month. Verve Caffe is the other cafe which I was intrigued to try out their Sungkai Buffet after having tried Rack & Brew Boutique Cafe‘s Sungkai Buffet last year.

The gang – San Diann, Clara, Shew Hiang and I planned to meet at least once for Sungkai Buffet this year. I thought we agreed to meet for dinner at Piccolo Fratini next Tuesday but San Diann could not make it as he had made other plans with his friends. So, we made do with this evening instead as all four of us were available.

San Diann, Clara and I were the first to arrive at the cafe. I went out earlier this afternoon for some pampering session in town. I even managed to get some grocery done after the pampering session and was left with ample time in hand. Drove to Verve Caffe early and stayed in the car to catch up with The Heirs until San Diann and Clara came finding me by my car. LOL!

Without further ado, let me show you what Verve Caffe is offering for their Sungkai Buffet! Let’s start with the main course, shall we?


Mac and Cheese

Battered Salmon (with Tartar Cream)

Their Battered Salmon was good. It was the first wiped out from the buffet spread. I took one for myself and shared half with San Diann as I am trying to cut down on fried food. However, it was darn hard to resist just by looking at it. I did not have the fries though despite their fries are good.

Roast Duck

I did not have much of this but only a small portion. They did not label all their food. I thought this was chicken at first until I had a bite and realized that it was duck due to the “smokey” taste which I dislike.

Roast Leg of Lamb

All four of us agreed that their Roast Leg of Lamb was good. I only had a small piece as it had been almost two years since I last had lamb. The meat was tender.

Beef Meatballs in Gravy

Olive Oil Brioche Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls to go with Soup of the Day. They were having Pumpkin Soup today. The dinner rolls were dry in my opinion and they were still dry despite being dipped into the soup.

BBQ Spicy Wings

Fries

Piri Piri Chicken

These were what they were offering for pasta section. Their Penne Arabbiata was good but spicy. Despite spicy, it was addictive and I went back for second serving. However, I personally find the penne pasta to be slightly overcooked in my opinion.

As we were the first to arrive, the staff gave us the privilege to choose the first four pizzas to be served on their buffet spread and we chose Neapolitan Red, Funghi, Local Classic Honey Garlic and Broccoli and Salmon.



After all the high calories’ food pictures, here comes the beverages and their desserts section!

Their coolers were pretty good and they worked as great thirst quenchers. I had a glass for each one of them apart from the Basil Lemonade. I am not sure if I would like basil in my drink. LOL!

These were their dessert spreads. The bite size chocolate dessert was good. It was chocolate mint flavored. The Carrot Cake however was sweet especially the cream cheese frosting. The frosting had a grainy texture as if the sugar were not dissolved properly.

Tropical Smoothie Bowl

These were good. I am not sure what they made for the smoothie. Avocado, maybe? However, it was tad sweet for my liking. It was something good for a change than the usual sweet desserts though.

Price: B$29.90 (adults) & B$14.90 (children)

Verdict: You can get free flow of black and white coffees over the counter. All you need to do is to proceed to the counter, place your orders with the baristas and they will have it sent to your table when it was ready.

While we were sipping our coffees, Shew Hiang was asking if they refill their food in between courses as she said most of the restaurants she been to did not do refills. Now that she asked, we realized that they did not do refill apart from pizzas. I could be wrong though. Shew Hiang wanted to have a second serving of their salad and it was no longer available after the first round of salad was finished.

Verve Caffe
Unit 6A,
Ground, First & Second Floor,
Simpang: 68, Jalan Batu Bersurat,
Kampung Pengkalan Gadong,
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +673-7274153

Baking #137: Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread

Decided to draft this blog entry first before heading out as I am still waiting for this bread to cool down before slicing so that parents can have sandwich bread during tea time later in the afternoon. The gang – San Diann, Clara, Shew Hiang and I are meeting for dinner tonight at Verve Caffe for their Sungkai buffet.

Anyways, I found out about this recipe of Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread from my Facebook feeds and I was intrigued to try due to the simplicity of the ingredients required. However, the original recipe was made for two loaves and I only had one Pullman tin at home. So, I halved the recipe.

Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)

Ingredients:

  • 238g full cream milk
  • 40g condensed milk
  • 25g unsalted butter *22g*
  • 4g salt
  • 325g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, condensed milk, butter, salt, bread flour and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Dough) and press START.
  7. Wait for the bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the dough from the bread machine after it was done with first stage proofing.
  8. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, shape them into balls and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Using a slightly floured rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll them into log shape. Place three rolled dough with the seams facing down into a slightly greased Pullman tin and leave them in a warm place for second stage proofing until it reaches about 95% height of the Pullman tin.
  10. Cover the Pullman tin with the lid (slightly greased) and bake in a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 25 minutes or until the bread is thoroughly baked.
  11. Remove bread from the Pullman tin immediately and leave to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

I tried slicing the bread when it was still slightly warm and it was almost impossible as the bread was unable to hold the shape properly. So, I left it to cool completely until I came home after dinner. Thank goodness I managed to slice them quite evenly.

Mom mentioned that the bread had a strong scent of condensed milk. Dad said it had tearing streaky effect. LOL! Texture wise, it was extremely soft and taste great that you could eat it plain without any spread or filling.

All in all, I am satisfied with my bake this time round despite the dough was slightly hard to manage when I was trying to shape them for resting.