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Not the one…

My girl has gone off instant noodles. I guess she has had her share of those all these years so these days, she gets put off by the mere smell or taste of the noodles. However, she was telling me about one that she had, tom yum flavour, but she could not exactly remember the brand and guessed it was this one…

Nissin instant noodles 1

…that I bought from the supermarket at the mall round the corner from my house – the made-in-Singapore Nissin brand.

There were two sachets inside…

Nissin instant noodles 2

…one with the seasoning and the other, the oil and stuff.

The noodles took longer than usual to cook, unlike those of the other brands and were firmer, more springy. I would think they were nicer than the rest. As usual, I cooked them first and drained, added water to them and rinsed well before draining away all the water and placing the noodles in a bowl.

Then I boiled some more water and cooked some prawns that I used for garnishing…

Prawns

…in it after which I added the contents of the two sachets to the stock and poured the soup over the noodles in the bowl.

I also fried an egg to go with the noodles…

Fried egg

…and sprinkled some chopped spring onions and fried shallots and served…

Nissin instant noodles

Yes, it was very nice but when my girl saw that, she said what she had was dry, not soup…and when I showed her the packet, she said that was not the one she had. Sigh!!!!!

Of course, they did not come cheap – around RM6.50 for a pack of 5 so it works out to about RM1.30 a packet but thankfully, it was nice and we enjoyed it…though I would think twice about buying it again, not at that price, thank you very much!

What have you been doing lately…

As for me, I’ve been doing quite a bit of cooking especially with my girl home for the holidays, and like what any parent would do, I would try and cook some stuff that she would enjoy very much.

I know she enjoys western cuisine so I made this salad…

STP's salad 1

…of lettuce, two hard-boiled eggs, sliced, and slices of grilled bacon.

For the dressing…

STP's salad 2

…I just used the little bit of mayonnaise left in the fridge and I added some honey mustard, sugar and evaporated milk to it and I dare say the end result tasted pretty good.

It was a case of killing many birds with one stone. I grilled the bacon in a bit of butter which I later used to toss the potatoes, cut into chunks…after which I added a bit of salt and pepper and sprinkled parmesan cheese generously all over them before putting them in the oven to roast…

STP's roast potatoes

They sure turned out really well and my girl loved them very much.

I had the fat trimmed off the bacon and I melted that in a frying pan before adding some garlic which I fried till brown and in went the mushrooms…

STP's mushrooms

…to which I added a bit of salt and pepper according to taste.

I guess that is what people call stretching the dollar/ringgit. Bacon is expensive here – I bought a packet of 9 thin slices for over RM12.00 and I used only 4 to cook three different dishes so it was not too bad actually. I put the rest back into the freezer for my girl to enjoy for breakfast with egg and toast or whatever.

This wasn’t western but on another day, I thought I would try and cook some pork the way my mother did – in soy sauce, no five spice powder involved. I took some chunks of the meat and marinated them in soy sauce and sugar and a pinch of salt. After sometime, I put everything in a cooking pot, added water, one whole bulb of garlic, a handful of peppercorn and some shitake mushroom…and boiled that for a while after which I turned the heat down and let it simmer for around an hour. To serve, I took the meat out and cut it into thin slices…

STP's boiled pork

…and I had the sauce/gravy in a little bowl by the side to use as a dip and also to pour over our rice and eat. It was nice but no, it wasn’t like what my mum used to dish out. I wonder how she did it…or maybe, the soy sauce then was different, I’m not too sure.

Then one afternoon, I wanted to take my girl out for a movie but the mum wanted to go too so in the end, I let the two go together while I stayed at home. There are things I can do without and at the prices of tickets at the cineplexes these days, it would not hurt one bit to miss a movie or two but lately, I did get to watch some good ones on DVD like this one or this, both of which I enjoyed very much. They do not screen this more intellectual kind of shows here as there isn’t any market for them – so what we usually will get are those ghastly horror movies or fast-moving action movies with lots of punches, shooting. killing and bloodshed and car crashes thrown in for good measure…and cartoons only.

However, I did not sit around, idling the time away while the two ladies were out having fun. Instead, I decided to try out this recipe that I learnt from my girl and I sure was delighted that the pancakes…

STP's pancakes

…came out really well!!! Maybe I added a bit too much butter but it sure turned out even nicer with the extra rich buttery fragrance. My girl enjoyed them very much and that night, before calling it a day, she dropped by my room just to say thank you…and of course, when the girl is happy, the dad is happy too!

So, what have you been doing lately?

Any other day…

It was a day like any other day, the Sunday during the wedding weekend. Everything was over so we were settling back into our usual routine though I did go out that night for dinner before my cousins from KK left for home the next day.

We went to the midday service at the cathedral in town and when it was all over, we went looking for a bite to eat and I decided to drop by here for my girl’s favourite beef noodles in town…

Yummy Kafe beef noodles

…and the dumplings (RM8.00)…

Yummy Kafe dumplings 1

My girl remarked that she found it kind of comforting eating those noodles – I guess that would be what people call comfort food then and of course, she enjoyed the dumplings too…

Yummy Kafe dumplings 2

My missus ordered the fried kway teow with cockles (RM4.00)…

Yummy Kafe fried kway teow with cockles

…from the stall at the back. The serving sure was huge! I did not try but she and my girl said that was very nice as well.

I had the kueh chap special…

Yummy Kafe kueh chap 1

…from another stall in this coffee shop and I can’t remember now how much that was – probably RM7.00 or RM7.50, I think…

Yummy Kafe kueh chap 2

It was quite good though I would not say it was the best I had had in town. I have not it anywhere much these days so I cannot say for sure which one would be better but I can say for sure this one (RM7.90)…

Noodle House kueh chap
*Archive photo*

here is very much nicer. That was it for our lunch that day.

Gosh!!! We are already roundabout halfway through the long end-of-year school holidays now – time sure goes by real fast when you’re caught up with so many things and having a lot of fun. So far, my girl had not been into cooking very much but she did make this gnocchi in creamy tomato sauce with bacon and broccoli…

Mel's gnocchi

…and also these cheese sticks…

Mel's cheese sticks

Personally, I would prefer taking her out to eat the things she loves to having her slaving away in the kitchen even though she enjoys that as well…and so do I.

Not exactly…

It was that evening after our sumptuous Japanese lunch when my missus cooked some noodles, Foochow-style, served in soup, for dinner. I did not take a photgraph of it but for the uninitiated, it would look something like this…

Foochow-style noodles, soup
*Archive photo*

…minus the big prawns. She did have prawns in hers too though just that they were not as big and she had the shells removed. Other than that, she also added some meat and a lot more green vegetables unlike when one eats something like this outside.

The next day, I saw that she did not use all the noodles she had bought and there was around half a kg of them left in the fridge so I decided to fry them for breakfast. What I did was I tossed the noodles with dark soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of bottled chili sauce first. Then I fried some chopped garlic in a bit of oil till golden brown before throwing in some prawns (my missus had removed the heads and shells), sliced beef sausages that I had in the freezer and the stalks of some green vegetables Then I added the noodles and fried everything together well before adding the leafy part of the vegetables, two eggs plus a dash of pepper. When it was done, I dished it out, sprinkled some fried shallots and chopped spring onions over it and served…

STP's fried noodles 1

I thought it was very nice and felt it was something like a cross between our Foochow/Chinese fried noodles, the dry version and the mee mamak or the Malay ones…

Mee goreng Melayu
*Archive photo*

… but when my girl got up, she had some and remarked that it tasted more like the former and not quite like the latter. Isk! Tsk! I would think that mine…

STP's fried noodles 2

…was very much nicer or at least, I had a lot more ingredients than just those few miserable bits of meat and green vegetables plus a whole of lot of msg that you find in a plate of fried noodles, dry, at the Chinese shops outside for RM3.00!!!

Anyway, what mattered most was that it was as good as it looked…

STP's fried noodles 3

…and I sure would not mind frying noodles like this again.

Luck…

I don’t have much luck at lucky draws. Even with around 80 prizes for a staff of around 100, I would be one of the unfortunate few going home without a prize. Sobssss!!!! To add insult to injury, I was always the master of ceremony at those school dinners, the one conducting the draws and not winning one myself. In fact, at my retirement party, my principal reserved a prize just for me – for emcee-ing all those years (and missing out on much of the good food served) and not winning a prize…ever.

Thankfully, my girl’s not in the same boat. She seems to be a lot luckier than the old man…and she won something at a school party a couple of weeks ago and that day, at the lunch function that she went to, she came home with this…

Lucky draw hamper

And talking about that lunch function here…

Paramount Hotel, Sibu

…after we had our own lunch at the coffee shop next door, my missus and I went to that supermarket in town – the one that has all the imported stuff, to browse around…and I ended up buying these for my girl…

Pasta galore

…to enjoy. I know she loves such stuff and she sure was delighted at the sight of what I had got for her and cooked one right away that evening for dinner…

Fettuccine with bacon bits in creamy sauce

…with bits of bacon added. This was the made-in-the-USA (Orinda, CA) FARMHOUSE “durum wheat semolina pasta, parmesan flavour – fettuccine in savory cheese sauce with other natural flavors plus four cheeses and milk“. Yes, it was very nice…and each box was only RM7 something, serves two…and if it’s only RM3 something per serving, that’s a lot cheaper than eating something like this anywhere outside…and some may not even be all that great!

Of course, my missus did not have any as she is not fond of those rich and creamy sauces served with pasta and would much rather go for something like the bihun that I fried for breakfast the following morning…

Fried bihun with beef sausage, egg & green veg

…with beef sausages, egg and green vegetables.

Back at the supermarket, I saw these on special offer – R1.99 for each of those boxes with the Japanese characters and only RM2.99 for the one from Arnotts…

Special offers

…and no, the Arnotts one was made in Australia…

Australian import

…NOT Indonesia and if not for the fact that the expiry date was drawing close, you would never be able to get it at this price. Well, I’ve tried it but I can’t say that I liked it a lot – it was very sweet and hard…and I could not dip it in my coffee because of the chocolate coating. I would say that the Marks & Spencer ones that I got from my ex-student, Julia, the other day were very much nicer.

I’ve also tried the Japanese ones. The Coco Nut, even though I have never been a fan of coconut cookies (I’m not all that fond of those bits of grated coconut in them), were really very good – no grated coconut in them but the coconut fragrance was absolutely awesome, very rich and very very nice. Melissa loved the chocolate chip ones as well – she said they were very much nicer than the ones I bought for her to try the other day. At RM1.99 only a box, I think I would want to head back to the place and grab some more before the stock runs out.

Special request…

My missus went and plucked some more tapioca leaves (daun bandong/daun ubi kayu) from the belukar on some empty land around where my mother-in-law’s house is so I took a bit and fried them with some pumpkin, enough for the two of us for lunch and dinner that day…and no, I did not forget the serai (lemon grass) unlike the last time I fried this ethnic dish.

What happened was I went and shared this photograph on Facebook…

Daun ubi goreng dengan labu

…and somebody commented saying, “Pass me de recipe PLEASE….for pumpkin I only see Pumpkin pie Pumpkin Bingka n steam pumpkin for those on diet.” [SIC]

Well, I did get to cook this same dish again last Friday because my missus cooked this prawn curry…

Prawn curry

…for lunch and I just pounded some sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip) and blanched some long beans for our ulam

Ulam, long beans & sambal belacan

…and both were extremely spicy and I was thinking that perhaps, my girl who was coming home that evening would not be able to handle those so well. That was why I decided to cook the tapioca leaves with pumpkin again that day for dinner. This time around, I photographed everything step by step in the hope that my friend would be able to dish out something similar since she had asked for the recipe.

Firstly, after having prepared all the ingredients including all the pounding, I fried a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) in oil till slightly brown and then I pushed them aside and put in the pounded ginger and serai (lemon grass), bruised at the ends…

Steps 1 & 2

After frying those till nice and fragrant, I added a spoonful of the sambal belacan from the above ulam – this may be replaced by half a cube of ikan bilis stock or salt and msg but these should be added much later, not at this point in time. After frying for a while, I added the tapioca leaves, pounded, of course…

Step 3/4

…and not blended and if you are adding thinly-sliced chili, you may throw that in here.

I mixed everything together thoroughly and added a bit of water…

Step 5

…just a bit at a time whenever it got rather dry. Do not add too much at one go…

Step 6

…even though the water would soon seep into the pounded leaves and there will not be any left. But you would need a bit of it to try and see if what you’re cooking is salty and tasty enough or not. If you are using ikan bilis stock cube or salt and msg, you can add them here according to taste.

Finally, I added the pumpkin…

Step 7

…which I had cut into bite-sized chunks and boiled lightly to make sure they were cooked and soft enough. I had removed the skin as I was pretty sure my girl would not fancy the hassle of having to remove that while eating.

Just mix everything together thoroughly and continue frying for a bit and then, dish out and serve…

Step 8

This time around, I found that I had done a better job than the previous time as it was not so wet and was, therefore, nicer or that is how I personally like it. Some people may want a bit more gravy to go with their rice – that’s up to them. Like I always say, to each his own!

So there you have it, my friend – my resipi daun ubi dan labu goreng (fried tapioca leaves and pumpkin recipe). Good luck!

Enough time…

It seems to be the trend these days among young people to wake up very late. I know of some who would wake up at around noon, just in time for lunch! Thankfully, my girl does not sleep that long – on weekdays, she would wake up at around 6.30 a.m. to go to work and on weekends and holidays, she would want to sleep in but even then, she would get up at around 8 something or to the latest, between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m…and since I get up at around 5.00 to 6.00 a.m, or sometimes even earlier, I have enough time to cook something nice for her to enjoy for breakfast.

Last Saturday morning, I decided to use the meatballs that I had in the freezer, those remaining ones after I had used some to cook my bakso sometime ago. I fried them in a bit of oil till nice and brown…

Meatballs, fried

…and put them aside for a while.

Then I got the other ingredients ready…

Ingredients

…some chopped garlic (4 cloves) and Bombay onion (1 small one) and tomatoes (4), cores and seeds removed. I had made the mashed potatoes the day before using 4 potatoes, a teaspoon of garlic butter and 2-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk and 4 slices of smoked cheddar cheese – it turned out very nice indeed. I cannot remember now who gave me that packet of spaghetti bolognese sauce and it had been sitting there for quite a while so I decided that I should use it. Incidentally, actually this brand is available here in our little town.

I did think of using some pasta as a base but there wasn’t any in the house and neither were there any mushrooms, canned or fresh, so I had to do without those as well.

Anyway, to get on with what I did that morning, I fried the garlic and onion in a bit of oil and then I added the tomatoes and the meat balls. I emptied the contents of the packet into the wok and added 1 cup of water as instructed. It was very fast – the sauce thickened very quickly and everything was ready in no time at all. I poured some into a casserole…

Meatball bolognese

…and covered it with the mashed potatoes…

Mashed potatoes pie cover

There was enough leftover to make a smaller one so I did just that to give to my sis to enjoy – she stays with my parents and since the older folks are not into this kind of cuisine, she does not get to eat it very often.

I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top of both and put them in the oven to bake for around 30 minutes and it was done…

Baked meatball bolognese with mashed potatoes 1

I would say that it came out looking very nice.

I helped myself to a bit…

Baked meatball bolognese with mashed potatoes 2

…and yes, it did turn out really well.

When my girl got up, she too had some…

Baked meatball bolognese and mashed potatoes 3

…and she too gave her double thumbs up…and that, I would say, is reward enough when one cooks something – knowing that everyone loves and enjoys it!