Us KL-ites often forget how green and lush our city is. Enticed by movies, home-theatres and malls, it's easy to overlook that a good time can be had for free. So grab your babycakes (and some cakes to go) and head out for food al-fresco style...
Spontaneous romance for the ravenous...
Here’s a thought. You and me. A tiffin full of delicious food. Somewhere green and secluded with the gurgle of nature. Klang Valley has tons of little nature pockets you can spend a Valentine weekend lazing under a sky (blistering or moody, it will always be warm) and sucking sauce off each other’s fingers. Feb 14th is a bit of a loaded gun. After a point it seems that everything has been done. Twice over.
So take advantage of the fact you live in the tropics. Pack up the car and embrace the great outdoors. We will arm you with places and tiffin ideas. You just have to bring the charm.
Now first, 5 tips on getting your picnic on.
1. What kind of outdoor person are you? What turns you on? Forest, waterfall, highlands, beach? We have it all. Narrowing down your favourite locations will set the scene for a delightful day.
2. Be prepared. Invest in a mat or picnic blanket. A good bag, napkins, even cushions- things that ensure comfort. Sunscreen or hat if you’re going somewhere exposed and insect repellent. Sunburn ain’t sexy and neither is dengue.
3. Give some thought to the food. It helps to know what your partner likes. Simple stuff will be sandwiches and pastries. A good nasi lemak bungkus is always a winner and get/ borrow a cooler to keep your drinks cold. A little attention here goes a long way.
4. Set the mood. Get some music on. Charge up your devices and get one of those little speakers. Nothing like some good tunes as you lean side by side with fingers entwined. If you’re going out with a lit chick, bring some poetry to read. An action chick? Get some activities sorted like a hike or cycling.
5. Have an alternative plan. It might rain. The spot you pick might suddenly be filled with a school trip. A good idea is to have a morning picnic when it’s nice and cool then end up somewhere cosy for lunch or if afternoon is your thing, plan for dinner. Have a back up plan in case it doesn’t work out or you want to take the day further.
Let's get to the food shall we?
… and she was created from Adam's ribs...
Hand-held food is the best for picnics. I know guys that find girls getting stuck into their meat really sexy. We're digging Kalbi-style Beef Ribs at the moment. Go to the market, ribs need not be expensive. You can get a good local one for about RM15-RM20, enough for two. Just tenderise them first with a little kiwi fruit. In fact, buy a little extra and use it in this Sup Ekor recipe for tomorrow's dinner.
Location Suggestion: Waterfalls. There are great little spots in Kemensah that offers little gazebo huts, hikes and activities like ATV riding. The Sofea Jane waterfall has a great little view and shallow pools to dip in. Chilling Falls opened on weekends gives a good trek but rewards you with views and a good appetite.
The Tangy and Spicy
… be still my banana heart...
Asian salads are the way to go with Oriental ribs. Many from the north of the border are spicy, tangy and funky all tossed up to get the juices going. We spruced up a Som Tam with shredded banana heart for added texture. You can of course use artichoke or just keep to a classic som tam. Try too our Thai Beef Salad.
Location Suggestion: Parks. There are loads of good urban parks in KL. Taman Tun has two tucked away, Taman Tasik Titiwangsa has activities to boot like canoeing. Lake Garden now called The Perdana Botanical Garden has plenty of covered tables with the KL Bird Park a stone's throw away for a bit of a wander.
The Rich and Fresh
… I will delight you with my balls of passion...
To keep with the theme, how about some sticky rice balls to add a bit of decadence to your picnic? Wash 1 cup glutinous rice and cook with 1 cup water and a pandan leaf. Cook 2 cups coconut milk with salt and sugar to taste until slightly thickened. Take half of the milk and mix with cooked rice and roll into balls. Serve with cubed mangoes and the extra milk if desired.
Location Suggestion: Views. KL has some gorgeous views. Bukit Ampang gives you sky and skyline gazing, while the Bukit Belacan Road leading to Ulu Langat also has scenic spots to stop awhile and enjoy views. You can also make a pit stop at Taman Rimba Ampang. Get in your car and see where the mood takes you.
*All the above gives you our Eastern Tiffin of Pleasure
The Western Tiffin of Desire
Here are more ideas for your tiffin needs.
… I'm not high on sugar, I'm high on you...
For the sweet inclined, make some Chocolate Marshmallow Bars. If you have more time, whip up some Buttery Tartlets filled with custard and fresh fruits. They are easy to transport and makes very little mess. Lazy? Get some buttercake and spread some icing on it or a moist chocolate cake dressed up with nutella. You can of course make it yourself too.
Location suggestion: Highlands. Take a relaxed drive to somewhere a little cooler. Genting might be a little tacky to some but there are some nice gardens, farms and spots to chill. Halfway is Bukit Tinggi where you can walk about and pretend you’re in Europe (albeit a theme park one).
… your love is like soft bread protecting my heart-filling...
Sandwiches rock and so ridiculously simple to make. We always like the fantastic combo of salty, smoky salmon on one side and the crunch and freshness of cucumbers on the other. Salmon Sandwiches- whisk a bit of lemon juice and pepper with some cream cheese and spread it on your bread with some smoked salmon. Cucumber Sandwiches- sprinkle slices of Japanese cucumbers with salt and pepper and put on kitchen towel to absorb moisture. Put it between buttered bread.
Location suggestion: Beaches. Sure you have to drive out a little but there are many little beaches you can go to about an hour away. Blue Lagoon or Pantai Saujana is more private than the main PD Beach and why not make a weekend of it in Melaka and enjoy Tanjung Bidara and Pantai Klebang's good food?
So this February take someone you adore for a romantic picnic. It gives you a break from routine, some couple downtime and a chance to reconnect. Because we hear you. Valentine’s can sometimes feel a little tired but romance… ah… romance my friends will never get old.