Shortcut…

We had a nice pizza palour here once, thin crust but it has terminated its business for sometime now. I prefer thin crust as it is more fragrant and you do not get the feeling that you’re eating bread.

Well, I think I saw Pete doing it once, either in his blog or on Facebook…and Melissa’s friend in Wellington also did the same for his son when we were at their house. All they did was to use one of those frozen canai, paratha or chapati that you can get at the supermarket…

Frozen chapati

…add the toppings and put in the oven to bake…and there you have it! Your own homemade pizza, thin crust…

Chapati pizza 1

Well, that was exactly what I did! I took one piece of the chapati

Chapati

…that we had in the freezer and place it in a pan, pre-greased a bit to prevent sticking.

Then I spread some pasta sauce on top. I had some leftover from what I had cooked the previous day for Melissa when she came home for the weekend…and after that, I sprinkled some grated cheese over it…

Toppings

I think mozarella or cheddar would be nice but I only had parmesan so that would just have to do. Of course you can have your own toppings according to your whims and fancies – maybe you would want to have some bits of ham or bacon, sausage slices, mushrooms – that’s all up to you.

I put that in the oven and once the cheese had melted, it was done…

Chapati pizza 2

Ummmm….very nice, very fragrant…and it sure tasted great. Maybe it isn’t anywhere near those at the authentic Italian pizza places but as they say, beggars can’t be choosers! LOL!!!

Desperado…

The weekend was here and I did not have the slightest idea what to cook for my girl when she came home. She loves pasta…and I had a packet of macaroni (elbows) in the pantry – I bought two packets when they were on offer sometime ago and I had used up one already. I remember there was a bottle of pasta sauce in the fridge but when I took it out to check, I saw this…

Old PS

14 days? That must have been sitting in there for 140 days at least and although it did seem okay, I decided not to risk it and to come out with something else – on my own.

So I chopped up some garlic and one Bombay onion…

PS - ingredients

…and seeing that there was no olive oil in the house or not that I know of, the olive oil margarine would have to do – just melt it in the pan. As they say, desperation calls for desperate measures! Hehehehehehe!!!! There wasn’t any (minced) beef as well in the freezer but never mind! I just took the chorizo sausages that I brought back from NZ…and minced two of them. There was also the parmesan cheese, also from NZ, so I grated a bit of that…and I spotted a canned of chopped tomatoes in the pantry. Ahhhh!!! That would be nice! It was good till the end of the year so I could use that instead of tomato sauce/ketchup…and I decided to add a bit of the mixed herbs too (also from NZ) and since I did not have any milk, I decided to use evaporated milk instead.

I melted the olive oil in a pan and fried the garlic and onions before I put in the chopped tomatoes, mixed spice, cheese and a bit of the milk. Oops! The milk changed the colour of the sauce to something creamy orange…so I added some tomato sauce/ketchup to redeem it and restore it to a nice shade of red. It tasted sour so I added a bit of sugar and some pepper as well and that was it! Ummmm…not bad, not bad at all…

PS

Having got the sauce ready, I cooked the pasta and served it on a plate and then I poured a bit of the sauce that I had cooked over it and grated some more parmesan cheese on top of that. Finally, I garnished it with some mint leaves and there you have it!!! My own macaroni dish with my original pasta sauce…

Homecooked pasta 1

At least, I did not use some bits of lettuce like this Italian restaurant in town, eh?

And of course, the acid test would be in the eating. Was it any good?

Homecooked pasta 2

Well, I thought it was great – to be honest, maybe it was even better than some places in town and my girl loved it! That was all that mattered! Wink! Wink! LOL!!!

Nothing special…

I went back to this nasi lemak stall the other morning to buy two packets (RM5.00 each)…

NLS X 2

…of the so-called special, one for me and one for my missus, to see what was so special about it.

If you buy the biasa (RM2.50), you will get the usual half a hard-boiled egg, some peanuts, fried ikan bilis and a slice of cucumber…

NLB

…and probably a bit of the plain nasi lemak sambal as well…which actually costs the same as what you can get at the kueh stall a stone’s throw away in the vicinity…

MMBS - NL

…with its chicken, salted fish and all but the rice here is so much more superior that all the rest would pale miserably in comparison. It is so fragrant, so very lemak (rich) with the generous use of santan (coconut milk)…and having had this, I would not want to settle for anything less.

If you add RM1.00 more, for RM3.50, you can get the very very yummy sotong sambal

NL + SS

…as well which I would say is the best I have had. I’ve had others that are very good too but this one’s exceptionally nicer. Yes, you can have a choice between sotong (squid) or kerang (cockles) but the last time I bought the latter, I was rather disappointed as the guy used canned kerang which, I’m afraid, was not all that great.

For the special, you would get all the above…and a piece of special fried chicken…

NSLS - FC

…or a piece of curry chicken…

NLS - CC

Both are nice but nothing sensational…nor special, I must say. Personally, I think I would skip this little extra and save my RM1.50 as the biasa with the sotong sambal  is really good enough for me.

But all things considered, if not for the rice, I would rather drop by here for the special…

NLS - Sg Antu

…which is RM4.00 only and you get the extra daging masak hitam and the fried egg…plus the nice complimentary soup.

There are other places where the nasi lemak is not too bad as well like the one here (RM5.00) but if you want to dine in air-conditioned comfort, perhaps you would not mind this one (RM6.90)

NH NL

I would say that it is not definitely not the best around but it’s not bad and a whole lot nicer than this one (RM9.80).

This one was at the hotel where I used to stay at Bukit Bintang in KL (RM13.50)…

BW - NL double

…but that’s a double so it would add up to RM27.00. Ouch!!! The only consolation was that it came with the room so it wasn’t too bad since it was complimentary. But where prices are concerned, I must say that this one definitely takes the cake (RM23.80)…

KLIA NL

…at KLIA where nothing is cheap but to be fair, it tasted all right – not the best, but good enough…just that the price tag is a rather bitter pill to swallow.

As for me, I am quite happy to stick to this one – my favourite at this point in time…

Bandong NLS

Jom makan!!! Nom…nom…nom!!!! Yummmmmm!!!

I’ll take your word (2)…

And now…the continuing and concluding episode of the Chili Crab Noodles!!! *cues in drumroll and fanfare*

Well, Huai Bin was almost right when he said that the noodles “were slightly over RM 10 but less than RM 11” – each pack of 4 costs RM11.95 to be exact…

11.95

– I stand corrected. It is still a bit cheaper though than what he paid for the same thing in Seremban – RM12.99. Honestly, I don’t know how I got the impression that it was RM6 something – if I had known it was that expensive, I certainly would not bother to buy, not at all. Actually they’re having an offer right now on some Korean noodles at only RM7.99 a pack – I did not check but they’re probably drawing pretty near their expiry or use-by date. I would much sooner have bought those instead if I had wanted anything that pricey.

As for what he said about me having too much water in mine, I really do not think so. In fact, I thought mine was rather dry or as it says on the packet, semi-dry…

CCN - 1st attempt

…whereas his in his blog looked like the noodles were swimming in the soup. Anyway, the second time around, I took his advice that I had to measure out the water *exactly*…and I did – 2OOml X 2 = 400ml, using my measuring cup cum fat separator…so the second time around, what I got in the end was not as dry as in the first attempt…

CCN - 2nd attempt

For one thing, on the packet, it says that there are three “rich sachets inside – chilli paste, seasoning powder, garnish“. Now, I thought that garnishes are supposed to be sprinkled on top just before serving and that was exactly what I did the first time! If you google for the definition, this is what it says garnish is: “a decoration or embellishment for something, esp. food.” However, if you look at the cooking instructions on the packet, I am supposed to empty all three sachets into the saucepan…

CCN - cooking instructions

That was why when I cooked the second packet, I threw everything in – the dehydrated spring onions and those crumbs of dunno-what.

And now the final verdict – was it any better? Well, I would say it was slightly better – for one thing, it was not as gooey or as I described it then, “like noodles tossed in chili sauce“. Still, I would not say that it was really good nor would I give the same response as my missus. She took a packet and cooked the noodles for herself and her response was, “Eeeeee…anay phai ciak eh!” (Eeeee…tastes awful!) She also thought it was “sticky” as well. It was, in my opinion, at best…edible and for around RM3.00 a packet, I think there are a lot of other nice things that we can get at the shops and stalls for that kind of money.

To chefandsommelier and Dead Cockroach who said that they did not know of the existence of this/had never seen this in the island republic, here’s what it says on the pack…

Made in Singapore

THE END… LOL!!!

They told me…

They told me sometime ago that the food here was pretty nice…

ODC

…but I did not stop by to try until the other day.

For one thing, it certainly was an interesting place with a lot of old photographs on the walls. I remember this bank…

Old WTB

…looking exactly like that when I was a kid loitering along that road (Old Street) where my father’s shop was at No. 8 – the bank was two doors away at No. 12. This was one of the old Sibu banks, the others being Kwong Lee (later Malayan United), Hock Hua  and Kong Ming (later EON Bank)…but during the bank mergers sometime ago, it was absorbed into Hong Leong, if I’m not mistaken.

I don’t think I know anybody in this photograph…

Old SHS brothers & students

In fact, I do not even recall the time when this particular La Salle Brother was in Sibu – I probably was way too small then…and all those would be the Sacred Heart students at that time.

The tiffin carrier sure looks familiar…

Some old stuff 1

…and the cassette tapes too. Somebody had that hand-driven sewing machine when I was small but I cannot remember who now…and that’s the old-time radio-cassette player in the top left.

I have not seen these char khiak (wooden clogs)…

Char khiak

…for a long while now, much less anyone using them…and I remember using that egg-beater in the top left…

Some old stuff 2

…to beat the eggs when I was small everytime my mother wanted to make cakes…and we also had that coffee grinder (bottom left) in the house when I was small. Hah!!! I bet many of us can remember that baby thingy (top right) – this would hang on our makeshift boi-boi – a sarong hanging from a hook on a spring tied with a rope to the ceiling in the house. We would wind it up and let it run – some music would play as the thing whirled round…and those dangling ends would rise to the occasion. Gee!!! This cafe is more like a museum and I certainly enjoyed myself looking at all the things on display.

As for the food, I ordered the Sarawak laksa as I thought it looked good in the photograph on the wall but eventually, I was told that the gravy was not ready and they suggested that I ordered something else instead. They suggested fried mihun with stewed pork – no, thank you!!! I am sure mine is nicer than yours!!! Finally, I ordered Hokkien fried noodles – or at least, that was what they said they had but when it was served, it turned out to be hock chiew char mee – tam (Foochow fried noodles, wet/with gravy) – RM4.00…

FFN

This was more expensive than elsewhere (RM3.00) but it had a lot more ingredients including some tiny shrimps and instead of the usual bits of chai hua (sawi), they had some kuchai (chives) strips instead. I don’t like that so I had to go through the chore of picking them out and leaving them by the side. It tasted good though, better than some places that I’ve been to around here.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid I can’t say the same about their cendol (RM3.00)…

Cendol

tak cukup lemak (not rich enough), tak cukup gula melaka (not enough palm sugar)…and the red beans were not cooked soft/mushy (but still whole) enough – the way I would love it! To me, the ones at this other place are still the best.

Never mind that the food wasn’t all that good as what I’ve been told – I certainly had a great time looking around and  recalling all those pleasant childhood memories during my brief visit to this place.

Sad movies…

I guess those who are around my age would know this song. The lyrics go as follows: “Sad movies always make me cry…” I wouldn’t know about you but I love sad movies – real tear jerkers that will make people cry buckets. So what is the saddest movie that you’ve seen – one that made you cry?

I remember this movie about a divorced couple and their son…

TC

The father, an ex-boxing champion, had custody over the son but he could not really provide for his little boy owing to his compulsive gambling. His wife who had left them seven years ago came back and wanted to take over the bringing up of their son to give him a better life. In a bid to get some money to stop her from doing that, he went back to the boxing ring for a fight that took his life.

Remember those late midnight shows in the old days…when seats were only 50 sen in front and upstairs in the balcony, they were only RM1.50. Well, I went to watch this movie, the midnight premiere, with some friends of mine…and at the final scene, everyone was so very quiet – nobody made a sound…until one of us sniffed and the bubble burst! Everyone was crying over the movie and laughing at one another simultaneously. It was so hilarious.

Well, how sad was it? You can watch the very touching scene here…

…and tell me if that made you cry or not.

According to Wikipedia, “The Champ” has also been called “the saddest movie in the world”, and the final scene has been used in numerous psychology experiments to elicit a strong emotional response. According to Smithsonian magazine, two psychologists, Robert Levenson and James Gross, conducted a study of more than 250 movie clips, and subjected them to 500 subjects in 1988, and concluded the last three minutes of the movie, where “T.J.” sees his father win in his comeback fight only to witness his death in the dressing room afterwards, elicited the saddest response from a majority of the subjects. Unfortunately, it was released the same year as “Kramer VS Kramer” which swept the awards at the Oscars. Personally, I feel this one is a lot nicer – as a matter of fact, I did not even think the latter was anything great.

So, have you watched any really really sad movies before? Did any of them make you shed a tear or two?

Well, in case you do not know,  it’s Teachers’ Day today – May the 16th…

TD

…so if you’re a teacher, this song is specially for you. Actually, it is from another movie that made me cry – it is neither about teaching nor a teacher but the theme is really appropriate to be sung and dedicated to one’s teacher(s) on days such as this…

It’s coming to the 6th year since I retired so I guess like in the years that have gone past, this day, for me, will just pass like any other day. Nonetheless, I do hope you all will have a whole lot of fun and here’s wishing all of you a very HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY!

I’ll take your word (1)…

Huai Bin loves this a lot, it seems…

CCN 1

…so much so that he even blogged about it! He said that he could not find it in KL and the surrounding areas – what he had, he got from Seremban. Well, taking his word for it, when I saw it at a local supermarket here, I grabbed a pack without a second thought. It wasn’t exactly cheap though – over RM6.00 for a pack of 4…so that worked out to over RM1.50 a packet. I will have to go back there and confirm though as in his post, Huai Bin said that he paid RM12.99 for his in Seremban. That much!!!??? Gee! That would make it as costly as those Korean or Japanese ones here then.

The packet’s pretty big, I must say, something like those Korean noodles so there should be enough for two. The noodles or what they call semi-dry ramen inside are not like our regular instant noodles as you can see here…

CCN 2

…but unlike the Korean ones, these made-in-Singapore are pretty instant and would soften very fast so you would not need to boil a bit longer.

There are three sachets inside – one, the seasoning, another the chili paste and the third one, the “special” garnishing. I boiled the noodles and added the first two and once cooked, I dished everything out into a bowl…

CCN 3

…and having placed the homemade fish balls, the pan-fried turkey SPAM slices and the hard-boiled egg, cut into halves, on top, I sprinkled the garnishing and served.

CCN 4

And now, the moment my truth! My verdict. I’m afraid it did not tickle my fancy, not at all. Maybe I should have added more water but  it did say “semi-dry” on the packet…and to me, it came across like noodles tossed in chili sauce, lots of it and nothing much more than that, I’m afraid. Even the extra ingredients that I had did not save the day…and frankly, I would be much better off with my Bovril noodles…or our very own homegrown Mee Daddy – curry flavour, no less.

Beef it up…

My daughter was home for the weekend as usual and we went out to town on Saturday morning to run a few errands. We stopped by here for her favourite – beef noodles…

AS - BN

The chili dip was exceptionally hot that day – probably they added a lot of cili padi and could give Kah Hiong’s a fight. Of course, the noodles would pale in comparison but this is just about the best we have here and it is pretty nice as well. I had the special – the one with the tendons and the tripe…

AS - BNS

All in all, the total came up to RM15.50, inclusive of my kopi-o-peng and my daughter’s peppermint tea. That’s a bit pricey, I would think…but beef here doesn’t come cheap, not at all, so I guess that would explain everything.

I did not cook anything special for my girl over the weekend as she had a dinner function to attend at a local hotel here the same day she came home – Friday…but as usual, the mum was cooking and packing a whole lot of things for her to take back to Selangau so all she would have to do would be to heat it up and eat – no need to go through the chore of cooking her meals herself.

On my part, I did fry her some mihun with corned beef…

FCBM

I used this brand…

CB

…which is as good as the one I would usually buy and they’re both around more or less the same price which is a whole lot cheaper than all those imported brands.

There was some leftover rice in the fridge so I took that and whipped for her some fried rice with salted fish…

SFFR

…plus some fried ikan bilis and thinly-sliced omelette added.

This way, she would not even have to cook her own rice. Just heat these up and eat with one of the mum’s special dishes – that would be one wholesome meal by itself already, I’m sure…unlike some of the meals some of these young teachers living on their own are having all the time (I’ve even seen their photos on Facebook!) – instant noodles!

Mary in the morning…

Mary‘s back in Sibu again with her hubby all the way from the UK…to exercise their democratic rights. I first met the nice couple in January last year (2012) but with their busy schedule, the time differences and their jet lag, we were not able to get to meet one another till a number of days later.

They were not keen on restaurant food and all that and would rather go some place for some hawker delights. Initially, I thought this place would be good but we were there at around 9.45. and it would not be open for business till 10. Not wanting to wait, we adjourned some place else and ended up here.

I decided to try the Singapore fried mihun

HN - SFM

…which tasted like fried mihun with curry powder added. I reckoned it was all right – nice but nothing to shout about and furthermore, I think some of my varieties of fried mihun are very much nicer. That, of course, would come as no surprise as when you cook your own at home, you would add a whole lot of ingredients so naturally, it would be a whole lot tastier than what you can get outside.

My missus had their Dayak fried noodles…

HN - DFN

…also known as lakia mee…or Iban mee. Usually, it would be fried noodles with a lot of chilies added and maybe a bit of belacan as well…but this one came across like mee mamak. It tasted good but it was not spicy at all, unfortunately…and my missus was kind of disappointed as she would prefer it to be a lot hotter than that.

The Sarawak laksa that Mary and her hubby shared…

HN - SL

…was also o.k. as far as the taste went but it did not really taste like Sarawak laksa and besides, it was a little bit too salty.

Their deep-fried kompia stuffed with minced meat…

HN - DFSK

…tasted great, similar to the ones here, just a tad too oily.

The only saving grace, I would say, was their popiah

HN - PP1

I asked them for extra kacang tumbuk (crushed groundnuts), both inside and outside, and they willingly obliged. That was why they were served all buried in it like that.

I really love it very much…

HN - PP2

…and I would say that it is the best that I’ve had in town and elsewhere as well.

Unfortunately, they told me that they would be closing shop in a  few days’ time but they would set up a stall some place, concentrating only on popiah and kompia – and skip the fried stuff and what not that they presently have on their menu. They gave me their business card…

HN - BC

…so I would be able to call them if I wanted to place orders for their popiah…and also to find out their new location once they have moved.

All in all, it was a pleasant enough brunch but above all, we enjoyed the company and we sat there chatting away till almost noon. There were so many things to catch up and to talk about…and I must not forget to extend a big thank you to Mary for the goodies that she gave me…

From Mary

– all the way from the UK. Thank you so very much – it certainly was my pleasure to meet the two of you again.

Clear…

I had a post on this in 2011 but never mind, let’s just go through it again quickly.

I did mention then that my daughter would not eat bean curd sticks as she felt that they tasted like plastic. She would take the soup though so sometimes, other than the meat bones for the stock, I would add minced meat rolled to make meat balls and drop them into the soup. She loves those very much and would eat them and besides, that would add to the flavour of the stock and.

Well, this time around, I used chicken – the tips of the chicken wings…

Chicken wings

…that my missus had chopped off and thrown back into the freezer. She had used the rest of the wings to cook her very nice baked chicken wings that we all loved a lot.

I boiled them in half a cooking pot of water together with four cloves of garlic…

Garlic

…and in the meantime, I broke the bean curd sticks into smaller pieces and soaked them in hot boiling water…

BCS

…to soften. See the bubbles by the side? I wonder what caused those. Hence, I would usually rinse and wash a few times till I am satisfied that they are nice and clean and then I would drain away the water thoroughly.

When the stock had started boiling, I let it simmer for a while for the flavours to come out of the chicken and the garlic before putting in the bean curd sticks. You can add whatever seasoning you prefer according to taste but usually I would add a bit of salt and msg. This time around, however, I added some fish sauce/gravy and a bit of Cukup Rasa…and let the soup simmer for a while longer.

Turn off the heat and serve hot…

BCS soup

If my missus cooks this, she would probably add a little bit extra – some sweet corn perhaps…or cut tomatoes…or a few prawns. Of course this will change the taste but I would say that it is not necessarily better – some things are best left in its simplest form, unchanged. I wished I had some spring onions though, or some daun sup (Chinese celery) in the house that I could use for garnishing and for a little bit of colour but I didn’t and I was too lazy to fry some sliced shallots for this some purpose so we just had it like that – very simple but very nice – clear and refreshing.

My mother would always have soup at every meal all the years when we were growing up and this was one of my favourites…and seeing that today is Mother’s Day, I would like to share this song with all of you…

…especially all you mothers out there. A very Happy Mother’s Day to each and everyone and God bless you all always.