Goodbye, Jimmy, goodbye…

My very dear friend, Jimmy, has left us.

He was always jovial, always happy. He was always a joy to have around and we will miss his infectious laughter.

He was kind, always generous and so very loving and caring and to me, he was more than a friend – he was like a brother, a son.

In loving memory

He was on his way back to Serian early Sunday morning, 16th February, 2014, at around 5.00 a.m. to attend the church service there with his parents when he was involved in a tragic self-accident.

His funeral will be held this morning at 10.00 a.m. at St Theresa’s Church, Serian.

Words cannot express the profound sorrow that my family and I feel at the loss of one loved so dearly and who had so much love to give but had to leave so soon, too soon. Let us all say a little prayer today for him, may God bless his soul and eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, may he rest in peace.

Goodbye, Jimmy, goodbye…

Give a little, take a little…

Actually I was planning to go out and eat something that morning and it rained! Tsk! Tsk! But in a way, I was quite happy as it had not rained here for so many days before and after Chinese New Year and it was getting a bit too hot for comfort. Well, that only meant one thing – that I would have to cook something for breakfast. I noticed that my missus had not been eating much of the noodles that I had been cooking in the morning and when I asked her why, she said she had grown quite sick of it. Hmmmm….I suppose I would need to cook other things then or come out with some new recipes.

I did not have noodles that morning in question though – there was some leftover rice in the fridge so I decided I would cook that and get it out of the way – you know how I feel about seeing thing sitting in the fridge for too long. Well, I did not cook it completely differently from how I did it a few days earlier – in fact, I would say it was more or less the same – give or take a little…

L&LCFR 1

These were the ingredients I used – the usual sliced shallots and garlic and chopped spring onions…

Ingredients

…and some lap cheong (Chinese sausages), sliced and leek, thinly sliced, eggs and my missus’ pounded chili dip.

My missus was horrified to know that I used the leaves of the leek – she said that normally people would used the bulbs only as the leaves would be too hard to chew. Hmmm…I did not have a problem with it – but I did slice the leaves very thinly so I guess that did the trick. This reminds me of my sister-in-law in New Zealand – she came home one day with what looked like leek and she only used the bulbs and threw away all the leaves. It turned out that they were spring onions and goodness gracious! Theirs were really huge!!! I thought that was such a waste as here, we would use everything except perhaps, the roots. I quickly retrieved the leaves and cut them into tiny bits and used them to toss some Bovril egg noodles – they were really nice and the son asked for seconds!

Anyway, back to my fried rice, as usual, I fried the shallots and garlic till golden brown and then I added the lap cheong…and subsequently, the leek…

L&LCFR step 1

I reckon if I had added egg, beaten, at this point, it would make a very nice meat and vegetable dish to go with rice.

After frying for a while, I added the rice…

L&LCFR step 2

…and in went the chopped spring onions and  a spoonful of the chili dip. Some may want to add soy sauce but I did not want that to ruin the nice colours and besides, it would overshadow the nice flavours of the ingredients I had used. If you’re not used to such light and pleasant tastes, maybe you can add a pinch of salt and msg…or some chicken or ikan bilis stock…or even a dash of fish sauce/gravy so that it would be a bit salty. I did not bother as I would prefer it this way.

Lastly, I added the eggs and after mixing them well with everything else and stirring till they were cooked, I dished out the fried rice…

L&LCFR 2

…and served.

I loved it and I sure would not mind frying rice like this again but of course, I could vary the ingredients…just in case my missus would get sick and tired of my fried rice as well. Sighhhhh!!!!!!!

Roundabout…

This used to be Simpang Tiga…

Simpang Tiga

…a triangular-shaped junction where Race Course Road, Kpg Nangka Road and Kpg Hilir Road converged, where I used to live when I was growing up. Now, it’s a roundabout and there is an additional road, Jalan Ria, as well. Do take a closer look at the photograph. Noticed anything that is uniquely Sibu, not found at places in the peninsula?

Located at the side where this photograph was taken from is a brand new supermarket. I dropped by to have a look and I quite liked what I saw – everything looked neat and new but my missus insisted that things there were more expensive than elsewhere. Don’t ask me – I wouldn’t know. If I happen to be at some place and I see something that I want, I would just buy, never mind if it’s 10 or 20 sen cheaper elsewhere…or worse, 5 sen only! The petrol to drive over to that particular shop alone would cost more than that. I guess they describe that as being “penny wise, pound foolish“?

Now, this hawker centre…

STHC

…is located right opposite the entrance of the supermarket. If I’m not mistaken, it’s an SEDC project and hence, people here would refer to them as the Simpang Tiga SEDC (hawker) stalls.

Ever since they started sometime ago, the stalls here have enjoyed brisk business. This was taken at around 11.00 a.m., past the morning tea break and a little too early for lunch and yet, there were quite a lot of people around. I’ve tried a number of things available here but even though all of them were quite good except for the Sarawak laksa which I did not like but it certainly seemed very popular – at any one time, one would see a lot of people eating it.

When we were there the other morning, my missus had the mee goreng (fried noodles)…

MG

…at RM3.00 a plate and she said it was nice. Personally, I do prefer the Malay fried noodles compared to the Chinese ones here, the dry ones, that is. I think they are tastier…and not all solely soy sauce and msg.

I had the nasi bryani, ayam (chicken)…

NBA

…for RM6.00. They only have kambing (mutton) on Sundays.

Everything was nice about it…

NBA2

…except that the meat was a little too overdone, a bit too fall-off-the-bone for my liking. It was good though I would not say it’s the best in town – I think I would prefer those at a couple of other places here.

Incidentally, for your information, the stall selling this rojak cucur (fritters rojak) with satay here…

RC + satay

…is closing down at the end of the month and will be moving to a block of shops (2.311322,111.826352), where Umi Bakery is, along the road linking Bandong to Jalan Ria/Delta Estate starting 1st March, citing high rental charges as the reason.

As for the rest here, I guess it will be business as usual…

Out of the blue…

An acquaintance of mine got in touch with me via my inbox on Facebook and asked me if we could meet and go out some place. I was still a little under the weather so I suggested going out for breakfast in the morning instead of at night as I would like to rest early. I did not know him all that well actually – we met sometime ago and it was more of a hello, how are you doing, goodbye thing…and then I did not get to see him for a long time until quite recently and like before, we did not really get the opportunity to talk much but we’ve kept in touch all this while via Facebook so let’s just say we’re not exactly total strangers.

I wanted to try the breakfast menu here but it  was closed. I checked their Facebook page and it looks like they only serve breakfast on Saturday mornings, not on other days. In the end, we ended up here instead…

Drinks

…and my friend had the lor mee (RM5.90)…

LM

He said it was nice but if it’s lor mee, I would expect the gravy to be thicker and more gooey, with beaten egg in it and I did not get to see those strands of kangkong either, blanched. It certainly appeared to be more or less like the kueh chap that I had on a previous visit – the ingredients might differ but the gravy/soup sure looked the same to me.

They did not have mee sua that morning so I had the meatballs kway teow soup (RM5.90) instead…

MBKTS

I could not recall ever having seen that on their menu before so I thought I would just give it a try. It was nice – I loved the clear soup and the minced meatballs…though I would not say I was all that fond of the frozen meatballs because of their smell/taste (but my daughter loves those) though they weren’t too bad when eaten in their own-made chili dip provided. Actually, I wouldn’t mind another minced meatball in place of the five frozen ones. I think I’d request for that should I be having that again in future.

My friend said he was very full already after the mee he had and asked me not to order anymore but I simply couldn’t let him leave without trying this (RM9.00)…

CLC1

…and true enough, that certainly took his breath away! He loved it very very much…

CLC2

…and I could see that he was enjoying it to the max (unlike when he was struggling through his bowl of noodles).

Well, it was a nice outing and we had a great time chit-chatting and getting to know each other better. Well, I guess everyone will agree with me that time can never be better spent than with friends…and with good food as well. Hopefully, we can do it again sometime…

You and I…

This place is called iBake…

iBake

…and my friends were telling me about it some time ago. If I remember correctly, they mentioned that they do make cream puffs here and since I was in the area that morning – among the shops in the area at the back of Medan Mall, Wong King Huo Road, I thought I would just stop by to see what they had.

I don’t know if the things were cheap or expensive as I do not usually go for such things but it seemed like everything was around the region of RM2.60 – 2.80 like these blueberry mini-Danish pastries that I bought…

iB1

…for instance, for three of them.

I also grabbed this ham and sausage quiche…

iB2

…to try and these toast sandwiches…

iB3

…as well. This bun…

iB4

…had custard cream inside but frankly, I did not feel it was anything to shout about.

I did not get these larger Danish pastries…

iB5

…nor these ham and cheese buns…

iB6

– which seemed to cause many of my young Facebook friends’ imagination to run wild when I shared the photograph there, I wonder why.

Personally, I thought that everything looked very pleasant and presentable – why, the guy had won some kind of award before, it seemed…

Award

…though honestly, I can’t say that I was overwhelmed by the taste of any of the things that I bought that day. None of them stood out as anything so very special, a must-buy and a must-eat, if anyone is in town.

I was there at around 10 in the morning and my friends did say that I should go around noontime as prior to that, they would not have most of the stuff ready and displayed for sale and true enough, I did not get to see any cream puffs, not even one…so I guess I would need to make another trip there again sometime but a little later in the day.

P.S.:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Happy Chap Goh Meh
And Valentine’s Day too…

She’s got the looks…

Well, it sure looks good to me…right down to the char siew oil used to toss the noodles (RM3.20)…

KM1

…and I would say that it looks nicer and tastes better too than some of the kolo mee that I had here…

KM2

…there…

KM3

…and everywhere in Kuching…

KM4

…and they even give the chili in vinegar dip that usually comes with it when one has kolo mee in  the state capital…

KM5

Well, if you’re wondering which one in particular I’m taking about, it’s from the stall here…

KC KM stall

…at this coffee shop…

KC

…further in where the Sunday market is every weekend with the Fortune Commercial Centre to the right (the shops behind the Rejang Medical Centre)…

FCC

…and the new supermarket right in front…

Supermarket

…with its main entrance a little to the left.

Maybe I was just recovering from my flu and cough but I did not think I was all that impressed…

KM6

Sure, it  was nice enough but at that price, I would much sooner go for the kolo-mee-like kampua noodles here for RM2.50 only and needless to say, it came nowhere near some of the best in Kuching

KM7

I guess it is something like having kampua mee elsewhere. One of my cousins, back here from KL, said, “Never mind where, which shop or stall, the kampua in Sibu is still better than any in Kuching or anywhere else!” So if it’s kolo mee that you want, hop over to Kuching – chances are you’d find the best there…not here.

Stop…

I did not intend to stop by anywhere that morning but as I was driving past here, I thought I’d just check out the place since I had not been there for quite  awhile now.

It appeared to me that it is no longer run by different people – the drinks…and the food stalls. If I am not mistaken, there’s only one lady now with all her children helping out. There did seem to be a  lot of people and not knowing what would be nice, I settled for this – the Shantung beef noodles…

SBN1

 – I think that was what it’s called (RM5.50). The name certainly sounded impressive so I was wondering what exactly that would be like.

Well, if you think that did not really look all that spectacular, I would agree with you. It turned out to be one of those Taiwanese-style beef noodles…

SBN

…which have never been my favourite.

This one did not have that overpowering taste of salted vegetables like some of those that I have had before but it was rather strong on the spices – star anise or cinnamon or whatever and I can’t say I liked that.

All in all, I would say it was all right…

SBN3

…but it was definitely not something I would want to have again.

And talking about stopping at places along the way, Melissa’s friend who was at our house that day for Chinese New Year went to Kuching by road last weekend and he shared on Facebook these photographs of the toilet stop he encountered along the way…

LT1

This seems to be at some SEDC (Sarawak Economic Development Corporation) R&R stop around Layar, Betong and not only was it nice and clean like those around Selangau, between Sibu and Bintulu, but somebody actually went through all that trouble to decorate the place…

LT2

I guess this was outside…and it certainly looks like you can grab the opportunity to belt out a song or two…

LT3

…while waiting for your friends to finish their “business”. LOL!!!

Maybe they did get somewhat carried away in sprucing up the place – as long as it is nice and clean, I would be happy enough already…unlike those that one can find at the LCCT, Sepang. That one’s an utter disgrace, true and true!

Sinful…

I’m no saint, no angel either…but I do think it is a sin to waste. Maybe you’ll think that I’m such a miser but I get quite upset and distressed to see the amount of rice in the pot, soaked overnight in the water to get it unstuck and eventually, thrown away and I do think that if we could save a spoonful or two a day, by the end of the week we would have enough for a plate of fried rice for breakfast. I’m sure most of us know that there is a Malay saying that goes like this:
Sikit sikit jadi bukit (Literal translation: a bit, a bit, becomes a hill/mountain)

Of course, I would have no choice but to get rid of things that have been sitting in the fridge for too long – anything more than a week would have to go, never mind that it still looks good. That is why I would make it a point to eat up all leftovers as soon as possible and not to simply stuff them in the fridge and conveniently forget all about them.

I had porridge last week as I was down with a terrible cough, alternating with some vigorous sneezing and running nose…plus at one point, a slight fever as well. My missus fried a slice of salted fish, the long variety, to eat with it but we barely finished a quarter of that. So, the other day, seeing that we had some leftover rice in the fridge, I decided to whip up my own version of the immensely-popular salted fish fried rice…

FR4

These were the ingredients I started off with…

FR1

– the usual sliced shallot and garlic, the leftover salted fish, cut into small chunks, some thinly-sliced long beans and spring onions. I decided to try adding a bit of lap chiang (Chinese sausage) as well as I remember having that alongside the salted fish in my favourite claypot chicken rice and I feel the flavours go very well together.

As usual, I fried the shallot and garlic first…and then, the salted fish went in, followed by the lap chiang…and next, the long beans…

FR2

After frying till the beans were cooked, I added the rice…

FR3

…and the spring onions, finely chopped and a spoonful of my missus’ pounded chili dip…and an egg.

We still had some cashew nuts left over from Chinese New Year, baked…not fried and no salt added so I took a handful of those and threw them in before dishing everything out. Just look at that! I don’t have to say a thing…but doesn’t it look yummy?

FR5

And of course, the best part is the fact that nothing went to waste. At this present day and age when the prices of everything are going up, up and up, I think it pays to be a little bit prudent in our spending and in our ways so we can stretch our ringgit a little, at least. As the age-old English proverb advises, “Waste not, want not!”

Anyhow, anyhow…

My daughter was coming home for the weekend on Friday and I was wondering what I could cook that she might like. I saw a packet of potatoes – I don’t know when my missus bought them but they were already sprouting roots…

Roots

…and I did see somebody sharing something on Facebook about it being bad to consume potatoes in this condition. The thing is this was not the first time I’ve used potatoes like that…and knowing my missus, it would not be the last…despite my telling her again and again that if she has no intention of using or cooking, don’t buy!

Well, I peeled the potatoes first, removing all the roots and the eyes and cutting away any discoloured parts after which I sliced them thinly and boiled them till soft. To check, just poke a fork into the potatoes…

MP1

– it should slide in easily and when you lift it up, the potatoes should slip off instantly. That should be an indication that it is sufficiently cooked and would be soft enough.

Drain away all the water and add a spoonful of butter and some cheddar cheese slices, cut into tiny bits…

MP2

…and mash away. I think true vegans who do not take dairy products would have to do away with these and just add a bit of salt and pepper perhaps. Normally, I would add a bit of milk too but seeing that the texture was already soft and smooth enough…

MP3

…I decided to do without it.

I bought these mushrooms…

MRP1

…but I can’t remember how much that was. I’m quite sure it was RM2.00 a packet and I bought two (but I only used one that day) but my missus insisted that I must have heard wrongly as they do not come so cheap. Ah well!!! Whatever it is, these are the locally-grown mushrooms that are easily available any time of year and are definitely more affordable than those that they import from elsewhere in the country of from places overseas.

I sliced the mushrooms thinly, cut the cherry tomatoes growing wild in our garden into halves and chopped some of the spring onions that we’ve planted ourselves as well. I chopped up some garlic and I cut two slices of ginger for use…

MRP2

– when we cook mushrooms, we usually use ginger to counter the smell. I guess you can use Bombay onions or shallots instead of the garlic and ginger, should you feel thus inclined. I was not following any recipe and was just doing it anyhow, following my instincts or playing it by ear, so to speak.

I fried the ginger slices in a bit of oil (I used butter) till brown…and then, I removed them and threw them away before adding the chopped garlic and frying that till golden brown after which, I threw in everything that I had prepared. I added a bit of our traditional Foochow red wine and a pinch of salt and pepper…

MRP3

…and once it was done, I divided that equally into the aluminium foil pie/tart cups…

MRP4

Next, I divided the mashed potatoes equally as well and used that as my pie cover as in the making of shepherd pies – instead of any of those pastry pie crusts…and I used a fork to make those lines and patterns on top…

MRP5

…and put them all into the oven to bake till they turned slightly golden in colour…

MRP6

So, was it any good? I know self-praise is no praise but I thought it was very nice and I wouldn’t mind cooking it like this again or maybe I might vary a bit here and there and add a few more ingredients to come out with a non-vegetarian version. We’ll see…the next time I get into the mood for some pies. Hehehehehehe!!!!!

I really can’t say…

…that it is good and I can’t say that it’s not either.

The first time I heard about it, I headed to the shop…

KC

…right away around lunchtime but was told by the lady there that they only start at around 3.00 p.m. The second time I tried, I saw no sign of activity at the stall so I assumed that they were not open and I went elsewhere.

I was here that night on the eve of Chinese New Year’s Eve to collect my orders and guess who I chanced upon! My blogger-friend from Sibu whose family I know so very well and yet, I never had the opportunity to make the acquaintance with her. The father asked me if I had tried this place out…

SW1

…and he said it was pretty good…and cheap too. That was why on my way home, I decided to stop by the place – among the shops behind the Sunday market area opposite a new supermarket there and tapao something for supper.

I can’t say that I’m all that impressed by the name – in fact, I can’t for the dear life of me make out what that means. If it’s the west of Singapore, that would be food from around Jurong but I don’t think that is it. I guess it refers to western food or dishes available in Singapore at one time as I think I heard somebody say that the chef/cook worked there once before. Anyway, in the words of William Shakespeare, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…and the test of the pudding is in the eating!

I bought these two items on the menu…

SW2
*Probably the typesetter placed the o and the l too close and it ended up looking like a d…or somebody could not read somebody’s handwriting…*

…and took them home.

The Napolitana Chicken Pasta…

NCP

…was very nice and you can see how generous they were with those chunks of chicken but I thought it wasn’t all that different from bolognese.

The Skipper Delight…

SD

…was quite good too but I did not like the fish – I think it was Dory, those frozen fish fillet from the supermarkets and I always found it kind of bland and even jelly-like. I wouldn’t mind if they use some better fish, give a smaller slice and charge a bit more as in fact, I quite like the pasta and the creamy sauce – anytime better than what we had here. Besides, I must give them the benefit of the doubt as I bought it home and that might have adversely affected the quality of the grilled fish, I wouldn’t know.

So at this point in time, I guess it is best to reserve my judgement until such and such a time when I will get the chance to go and eat there and maybe, sample more of the items on their menu.

Footnote:
I did not quite make out what the lady was saying as I was not really paying attention but if I am not wrong, for takeaways, you will have to fork out RM1.00 each for the plastic containers used. Anybody thinking of buying home, best to bring your own tupperware…