Monday, August 22, 2016

Staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton and a Very Raspberry Sherbet to cool you down!


Boy I love Malaysia, and boy is it hot! I am in Kuala Lumpur eating my way around the city and I have the utmost pleasure of staying at the lovely Doubletree Hotel by Hilton.

This hotel is most well known for the warm chocolate chip cookies that they give to you upon check-in, but let me tell you there is so much more to this hotel than just cookies!


Not only are their rooms spotless and clean, but the food! It is worth staying for the buffet breakfast and cocktail hour alone.


We stayed one full week at the DoubleTree and I did not want to leave. Each morning we woke to enjoy the most spectacular buffet breakfast spread that offers more variety that you can handle. It is so varied that you need a week to stay there just to taste every item at the buffet.

The buffet is set up into different sections based on cuisine. There is a Malay, Indian, Western and Chinese section. My favourite - the Malaysian food of course, but the Indian comes a close second with fresh dosa and roti canai made to order!

Expect to find all the delights of malaysian food at this buffet from succulent beef rendang to nasi lemak, curry chicken and mee goreng. The soup of the day was a go-to for me and if they had laksa, I was all over that. It wasn't until the very last day that I decided to try the pandan pancakes, and I regretted not eating them every day! They were a delight.

The Indian table served all types of flavourful curries, dal, idle, samosas and fresh roti.

If you are in the mood for Chinese, you could find congee, steamed bus with pork or custard, fried rice and noodles.

Of course the standard Western fare includes cereals, pancakes, yogurt and fruit, as well as French pastries.




The food at cocktail hour is no less impressive than the spread for breakfast, there's just less quantities but the quality is 5-star.

A variety of fresh fruit at the perfect stage of ripeness - papaya, pineapple and watermelon.

Fresh salads and sandwiches, chicken satay, rendang, samosas and dumplings. The menu changed everyday and I found myself looking forward to certain items. I have tried a lot of satay, and theirs was some of the best I've had. I really appreciated the variation as it provided something to anticipate.

The desserts - well, coming from a Pastry Chef I can be quite critical. But, I was very pleased. I could tell that they used fresh cream and high-quality chocolate in their mousse cups. The pandan and red bean cake was light and delicious. The mango and green tea custard was refreshing and I did go back for seconds.

If you are ever in Kuala Lumpur I would not hesitate to recommend the DoubleTree. They have high standards and do not disappoint. The quality of service was top-rated and the staff was very helpful. The rates are also very reasonable. If nothing else, you should go for the buffet breakfast!






Dear Summer,

Just stay. Will you? I'm going to miss my blazing afternoon strolls, the beads of sweat dripping down my back, the fresh herbs growing on my balcony and giant tomato plants that require more attention than a baby (don't quote me on that because I don't have kids - Lord help me.) Long days, dinner at 9pm, ice cream at 9:30pm, trail riding, berry hunting, lake swimming... I love them all.

I can do without the tricks your humidity plays on my Italian meringue and perfectly tempered chocolate. That's just not funny. But if I just make ice cream all day instead of baking, will you stay?

I'm going to keep making icy cold desserts to convince you to hang around.


The idea of Christmas baking, warm fuzzy holiday feelings, hot chestnuts, red stockings, cinnamon everything and novelty chocolate used to be enough to barely get me by. And boy do I love pumpkin... But I think I'm over it. Now all I think of is shivering, shrugged shoulders, stiff bones, indoor running, short days, dark mornings, too many layers, hot-cold-hot-cold, clunky boots, bad drivers and slush slush slush. Is this a case of the Mondays or what?!


Today's recipe for Very Raspberry Sherbet is such a cheat that it almost deserves a detention. It comes together in seconds in your food processor (Cuisinart beats KitchenAid in the processor department - I have experience with both) and is so satisfying. You need only 2 ingredients and then the rest is up to your imagination. Add lemon juice, citrus zest, a bit of coconut cream, cinnamon, chocolate chips, a bit of frozen banana - oh that would be great!


Start with frozen raspberries and add half the amount by weight of condensed milk. That's it!

The ratio is always 2:1 and I usually make this in about 750mL batches. Sweetened condensed milk is a magical ingredient because it is a concentrated form of 3 major functional compounds - fat, sugar and protein. Not to mention it provides rich, creamy flavour. I find the sugar it contributes to be enough but feel free to add a bit more to your taste. The condensed protein content helps to prevent excessive crystallization so that this sorbet will be quite smooth with little effort. You'll find it will harden up rather solid straight from the freezer but just a minute at room temperature lends it the right amount of scoopable softness.

If you feel you need to hang onto the strings of Summer like I do, give this a go and prepare for some brain freeze.

xo
Christina.


Very Raspberry Sherbet
Makes about 750mL

400g frozen raspberries
200g sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Place raspberries, condensed milk and vanilla in a food processor and puree until very smooth. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides a few times.

Transfer to a container and freeze until firm. It will be very hard but will soften after just a minute for easier scooping. I like to serve this with some plain yogurt. So refreshing!

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