Okay, I know I say this every week but today I really am excited. Contemporary romance author and all round lovely person Joan Kilby is my Friday Feast guest today and WHAT a post she has for us. I’m squirming in my seat right now I’m so thrilled! Squirming and drooling and thinking that I’m so inspired I might have to sneak into the city for a session at that Asian gem Little Malaysia (faaaaab restaurant off Little Bourke Street in Melbourne).
Now, when Joan isn’t making me horribly jealous with her travels, she writes wonderfully emotional contemporary romances for Harlequin Super Romance and Carina Press. Twenty-two of them to date! Joan’s latest is a wonderful story titled Protecting Her Son and it’s been gaining some rave reviews like this from Bookish Jottings:
Sparkling with believable characters that jump off the page, wry humour, nail-biting intrigue and emotional romance, Protecting Her Son is a superb tale of old wounds, second chances and healing love from the outstanding pen of Joan Kilby. Julie Bonello, Bookish Jottings
Take a closer look…
Paula Drummond is finally back on a police force. And with so much at stake–she’s a single mum atoning for an almost career-ending mistake–she’s not risking anything but stellar performance. That means, regardless of whatever attraction is brewing between her and her partner, Officer Riley Henning, she will not get involved.
Still, working side by side with a man as hot as Riley and not giving in to temptation isn’t easy. Especially when he goes above and beyond to help keep her son safe. With all that evidence piling up, it seems as though her partner on the job is destined to become her partner in bed…and maybe even in life.
And now I pass you on to Joan. Enjoy!!
Travels With My Stomach
I love traveling in Asia, mainly, I have to admit, for the food. Penang, especially, is a foodie’s paradise with fabulous Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food and local specialities.
One of my favorite eateries is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, Luk Yea Yan on Jalan Macalister. They do an amazing breakfast/lunch buffet with forty different vegetarian dishes and four types of rice. I’m not vegetarian but I love this food.
The day I took this photo we were early, before all of the dishes were out, but by nine o’clock every bain marie is full.
The veggies are super fresh. Every morning a small army of women can be seen out back through the open-sided building, cutting up bushels of produce.
And the tofu! In Melbourne, even in Asian suburbs like Springvale, we have a limited range of tofu but at this restaurant there must be about twenty different types of tofu and soy protein foods.
My favourite dish is a mock lemon chicken that has a crispy outside, a layered chewy-smooth interior in a light tangy lemon sauce. So delicious!
The food is not only delicious and healthy, it’s incredibly cheap. Mike’s heaping plate cost about $3.
For dinner we ate at the nearby Indian Nasi Kandar restaurant. The chicken tikka is tender and succulent, best I’ve ever had. They also make fresh roti, stretching the dough filo-thin on a big griddle and folding it into ghee-licious layers.
Mike’s favourite roti was murtabak, filled with chicken, onions and egg and eaten with a spicy sambar gravy.
My guilty pleasure was roti bom laced with condensed milk. If I closed my eyes I would have sworn I was eating a warm Danish pastry.
(I didn’t have my camera with me that day so the murtabak and roti bom photos are from the Internet.)
One day we took the funicular railway up Penang Hill and came across an Indian hawker selling this chickpea snack. He told me the ingredients but not the quantities.
I came up with the following recipe at home. You could vary the quantities to taste.
Penang Hill Chickpea Snack
400 gm tin chickpeas (about 1 1/3 cups)
1/2-1 cup Bombay mix (a spicy Indian snack mix available from supermarkets)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 English cucumber, diced
Juice of half a lime
Heat the chickpeas in the microwave. Mix well with the other ingredients, adding the Bombay mix last so it stays crunchy longer. Enjoy as a snack or side dish. Eat it with a spoon or fork unless you don’t mind getting your fingers messy.
After Penang we headed to Bali. When we first went there many years ago the food was spicy and everything was fresh. Now that tourism has exploded the food has become westernized and bland even in the remote fishing village in Amed where we spent most of our time. (Amed features in my Superromance, To Be A Family, out later in 2012.)
We did find a fab little restaurant in Sanur called The Coconut Tree. Their nasi goreng, made with organic vegetables, was probably the best we’ve had anywhere.
Our favorite dessert in Bali were the banana wraps at our small hotel. They’re probably not authentic Indonesian food but they’re really yummy and very simple to make. One day I watched the girls prepare them so I could replicate the dish at home.
Banana Wraps with Coconut and Melted Palm Sugar
-Sugar bananas (regular bananas will do but they need to be ripe and sweet)
-butter to fry in
-fresh coconut, grated**
-melted palm sugar (maple syrup is great, too)
Make the pancake and keep it warm. Slice a banana in half lengthways and fry in butter till hot and lightly caramelized. Put the halves of the banana back together and roll up in the pancake. Chop the pancake into chunky pieces and arrange in a log or in a circle. Sprinkle over a generous helping of grated fresh coconut and drizzle with melted palm sugar or pure maple syrup.
*the pancake should be about 3 millimetres thick. I found a crepe batter was too thin so I used an American pancake recipe and thinned it down with skim milk.
**grating the coconut by hand gives the most aesthetically pleasing result but is time-consuming. When I have dinner guests I hand grate it. When it’s just for the family I blitz it in the food processer. Tastes the same, just doesn’t look as nice.
On an earlier trip to Cambodia we saw women making palm sugar by the side of the road. They tap the sugar palm much like a maple tree and boil up the sap over open fires until it crystalizes. The palm sugar is completely different and much nicer than that which we buy in shops here. It actually tastes a lot like maple sugar.
While in Siem Riep we loved the Cambodian barbecue–paper thin beef grilled on a charcoal-filled cone and surrounded by stock in which we cooked the veggies. The yellow dipping sauce was absolutely delicious. I don’t know what was in it and I’ve never been able to find a recipe. Does anyone have any ideas?
I’d love to hear about favourite dishes you’ve encountered on your travels–wherever that may be. Did you try to make it later at home, and was it successful?
I’m giving away a copy of my latest Superromance, PROTECTING HER SON to one lucky commenter. The book was a March 2012 North American release and will be out in August 2012 in Australia and New Zealand.
Thank you so, so much, Joan, for your amazing post. The photos and descriptions are gorgeous. I have severely itchy feet right now, but it looks like I might just have to satisfy my foodie wanderlust with some banana wraps. Far out, that looks gooooood! And don’t get me started on murtabaks…
Now, my drooly feasty lovelies, you heard Joan. We have a wonderful, wonderful book up for grabs. All you have to do is share a favourite dish from your travels and any success (or failure) you had in recreating it. I have one – the goat’s cheese tart taught to me by a lovely lady in Provence. The version I make here is okay, but doesn’t compare to the one made at Tessa’s cooking school. It’s the goat’s cheese. She used this amazingly wrinkly smelly one that gave the tart fantastic piquancy that I can’t seem to recreate. Sigh. Will just have to go back…
Giveaway open internationally (rah!). But you need to be quick because it closes midnight Tuesday, 19th June 2012 AEST.