As both Mardia and I had engagements last weekend we decided to take the whole weekend off and went to stay in a hotel in KL. The first such break in many years.
I first stayed at the Flamingo Hotel by the Lake about 12 years ago and have stayed there several times since. I like it because it has that wonderful lake that gives you the sense of not being confined as do many other hotels. After a meal or in the early morning it is nice to go for a walk around the lake. It is sad however that on this trip there was evidence of the Hotels decline. I wonder why? Has the management team changed? There appeared to be few guests. A far cry from the hustle and bustle around the reception desk there used to be. The area which serves as a Coffee Shop is far too large and looks so dismal I would think few guests would dare to enter. When we walked in at breakfast time we were totally ignored and decided to go elsewhere.
They do have quite a nice restaurant on the top floor serving Iranian/Pakistani food which I happen to like. But again it was deserted and I think there were only two other tables occupied. The staff in the restaurant were quite friendly and helpful.
I do hope that one day it will be taken care of and nurtured back to its former glory if not it will only decline further and that would be sad.
I guess I have high standards. I have lived in many hotels around the world and worked in the Dusit Thani Bangkok for over a year. In that grand hotel I was told in lean times hoteliers must strive to improve the hotel and its services to attract more guests rather than cutback and hasten its decline. Sounds like sound advice.
What happened to the Flamingos? Perhaps they flew away as there habitat declined.
This weekend we will be celebrating Spelt Flour. We shall a selection of cakes and bread made from Spelt Flour. We shall also have some Freshly Ground Spelt flour for those that want to try baking at home:
Wholegrain Spelt – Good for 100% bread
White Spelt – A lighter loaf or cakes and biscuits
Miller’s Blend – 60 % Spelt Middlings and 40 % White Spelt for a good Artisan Loaf
Seeded Spelt – Wholegrain Spelt mixed with Pumpkin, Sunflower and Linseeds for a really nutritious loaf.
Spelt is reccomended by Bowel Cancer UK Organisation.
We can also send this flour by PosLaju.
500 g White Spelt Flour or Wholemeal Spelt Flour
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Quick Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
300 ml Warm Water
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, quick yeast and sugar.
2. Carefully measure the water and roughly mix it into the flour.
3. While the dough is still claggy add the oil and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable.
4. Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a cloth, in a draught free place, to double in size (about an hour). To make a quick bread omit this stage and proceed straight to step 6.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough firmly for several minutes.
6. Shape the dough and put it into an oiled 1kg/2lb bread tin or place it on an oiled baking sheet.
7. Cover and leave dough to rise for about 25 minutes in a warm place.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 35/40 minutes.
Anyone who has read Oliver Twist will have heard the phrase ” Please sir, can I have some more?”. What he was referring to was Gruel or a nutritious porridge made from what we millers call the middlings. The ‘Middlings’ are what is left over after sieving Whole Grain Flour to remove the bran, wheat germ and the coarse semolinas. This is done to produce the white flour that everyone loves. The ‘Middlings’ is actually the most nutritious part and is often fed to animals such as pigs.
I believe Americans call ‘Middlings’ Cream of Wheat. It is often used to make a delicious porridge for breakfast.
1 Cup of Middlings
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Water
Mix together over the stove for 10 minutes or so, stirring. If it is too thick just add some more water. Serve and if desired sweeten with some Honey. I am sure the children will love. Think of all the fibre and Wheat germ they will be getting.
We sell the Organic Millings for 10 RM per KG. Email me if you want to order.
We also have some Bran if you wish to add to the porridge or make Bran Muffins. 5 RM KG.
In the Artisan Baking World there is quite a lot of talk going on about Heritage Grains. These are grains that used to be used for cooking and baking, in this case England, back in the days of the Knights and Peasants. We use Spelt quite often in our baking and Spelt is considered a Heritage Grain.
Spelt certainly has gluten, but many people with gluten intolerance can handle Spelt without problems. Often people returning to Malaysia from overseas will contact me about Spelt Bread.
We shall be concentrating on Spelt Bread this month, each loaf will be made from fresh ground Spelt grains that we will grind in our stone mill just as they did in the days of Knights and Peasants. Well we cheat a bit and use electricity. Some will be mixed with Organic Wheat and Rye and some 100 % Spelt.
Contact us if you would like to try Spelt Bread.
If you want to try some of the flour at home in your Pancakes and Baked Cakes, let us know and we will be happy to grind some for you. We could also mail it out.
We make a very simple Pizza, using some fantastic ingredients. We start with a sourdough base, add organic tomato paste, organic basil olive oil and top with Mozzarella cheese. This Mozzerella is the real thing from the Campania region of Italy. Naturally made from Buffalo Milk.
The Pizza is baked in our Brick oven fired by a gas burner imported from Italy
We use two brands of coffee, both are from Italy. Bezzera from Milan and Cafe Gioia from the south of Italy. Both are 80% arabica and 20% robusta blends. A mixture composed mainly of the best quality Arabica coffee beans with 20% Robusta coffee beans.
Aromatic, smooth and strong, enjoyed in the Italian way.
Try them both on Sundays from 3 PM till 6 PM along with scones, teacakes and other treats. (Treats depend on the time available to me on that day).
If you want to pick up Bread please remember to order at least 2 days ahead. Our Bread is a slow food produced over two days.
I am getting ready to retire in about a year. Therefore I shall be ramping down and doing less. Bread can be purchased from our re-sellers Jasons, justlife and MacroB. They are supplied Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
We shall concentrate on our Sunday Tea, Scones and Pizza. I will bake some Plain Sourdough bread and some other sweet items for sale on Sundays but it will depend on the time available to me after completing the re-seller orders. I cannot accept orders for Sunday pick-up. If you want to be sure of getting a loaf please order from one of the suppliers listed above.
We hope you will understand, but these old bones are getting tired and I would like to rest more. 3 AM starts and 13 hour days are for the young.
I get many requests for gluten Free Bread. I do not normally make it. Why? Because every time I buy all the ingredients to make it, they get thrown away. Most people do not like Gluten Free Bread because it does not taste like bread, particularly Malaysian Bread. It is possible to make it soft by using various gums and eggs. However many consumers of gluten Free are also allergic to these things or just do not want to include them in their diet.
The gluten Free I make is hard like Pumpernickel but is free of anything except the grains, water and a special gluten free levain that uses honey (so Vegans do not like it). Do not ask for any other type I will not make it. Even this one the minimum order is 5 loaves.
One other thing, my bakery has gluten floating around so I cannot guarantee there will be no gluten.
I suggest you read this item about Gluten Intolerance. Most people are not. It is partly a fad. Try our Sourdough Breads which are tolerated well my most people. Read the article and save yourself grief and money.
We have been supplying Jasons and Justlife with the new Swiss Bread for a couple of weeks now. The bread is made up of six rolls put together to proof in a traditional German proofing basket. Just before baking each roll is cut on the top edge and baked with steam. The bread is made from Organic Wheat Flour, Yeast, Organic Levit, Rock Salt and Water and just a dash of Organic Olive Oil.
The rolls can be broken apart and eaten with a nice piece of cheese or whatever takes your fancy. They make a nice roll for the school or office lunch as the bread is quite soft and fluffy, but full of taste. Enjoy
To my shame I broke down and tried a fast food outlet I have not visited before. It was truly awful. When will I learn?
Growing up in England, one of our staples was and I believe continues to be “Mashed Potatoes”. It bears no resemblance to what is served in Malaysia as Mashed Potato. That is a pity as it is very easy to make and can be used as a base for many other dishes.
Boil potatoes till soft, add a knob of butter and a dash of milk and mash together. Add salt and pepper to taste. It should be slightly firm and not liquid as served here.
It can be served on its own, used as topping to cottage pie, or mixed with fish to make fish cakes, used to soften bread and so on……..
Next time we will work on coleslaw ……………………………
We have been making some Baked donuts recently and they have turned out well. May have some on Sunday if I have the time.
We shall re-open August 10th for Scones and Tea from 3PM till 6PM each Sunday.
We will have few new things and they include # types of Pizza baked in our Brick oven. They will be topped with tomato, fresh Basil and Buffalo Mozerella, Olive Oil. Additions include Anchovies, Capers ….. No meats will be served.
These Pizza are cooked from a sourdough pizza dough in about 90 seconds in our Brick Oven.
If you like your coffee in the original Italian style. We will be serving the famous Bezzerra coffee, made in our Bezzerra coffee machine. Bezzerra invented the coffee machine in 1901. They know a lot about coffee.
We shall also introduce our sourdough Focacia slices. Soft and tender slices of Focaccia, topped with Olive Oil, Tomato Puree, Potato, Nigella Sative, Oregano.
We also have some new loaves. Sourdough Chocolate Loaf and Italian Country Loaf made with Organic Wheat Flour and Organic Durum Semolina.
Mardia and I look forward to seeing you again soon.