In view of the circumstances at that point in time, I did not really have an open house for Chinese New Year this year.
A few did drop by and yes, they managed to catch me at home at the time. In fact, we were either at home or at the medical centre and anyway, we could go home anytime should anybody want to come and visit. Sibu is a very small place, not at all difficult to get around.
There was this group of ex-students…
*Sze Nee’s photo*
…who invited me to their school’s centenary dinner not too long ago and I sure was glad to see another ex-student of mine whom I had not seen for a long long time. Now, a renowned gynaecologist in Bintulu, blessed with three girls and a boy, he dropped by with his wife and kids and his parents – it was so sweet of him to remember this old teacher of his and yes, it certainly was great to see him again after all these years.
My good friends, Lim & Mrs and the children made it a point to come over to extend their Happy Chinese New Year greetings that very night as soon as they got back from Kuching after driving all the way the whole day – they went home for the holidays and Melissa’s coursemate, teaching at a school in Sibu, now happily married, did drop by with his wife too…
*Farid’s photo on Facebook*
The nice boy would make it a point to drop by and extend his festive greetings without fail but of course, this year, he is not qualified to receive an ang pao anymore. LOL!!!
Then there were Bongkerz and Mary and their families…
*Mary’s photo on Facebook*
– they would definitely drop by each year but last year, they did not as it coincided with Ash Wednesday and I did not have an open house on that particular day and they had to go back to their respective towns right after that. It sure was nice to see them again – this was way back in 2011 when they did not have any children yet – and I do hope I will get to see them again and again in the years to come.
Well, with my girl and the mum presently on a gluten-free diet, my missus did not do any baking at all and just went to buy some stuff from the shops instead and when I saw on Facebook that my ex-student’s wife, Juliet, was making some of those local steamed and layered delights, I quickly placed an order for a few of those.
There was this kek lumut (moss cake)…
…and kek belacan (dried prawn paste cake)…
– both very nice despite the not-so-flattering names, one obviously because of the green colour and no, the latter did not have any belacan in it.
This one had a nicer name – Evergreen…
…and yes, it was very good too. What I liked most was the fact that all the cakes had reduced sugar so they were not as sweet as those sold commercially and she did not scrimp on the ingredients so that was why all the cakes were very rich and very very nice. The sad thing is that Jimmy, the hubby, said that he would not let her make anymore next year – I guess he saw all that she had to go through, all the hours of preparation and steaming and baking. It was no easy task, that’s for sure.
We also had the fruit pudding…
…that my aunt in Kuching made and they gave it to me when they were here in December last year and I had been saving it since. It did not turn out so well this time around – the fruit sank! Nonetheless, it tasted as good as ever, lots of rum in it, that’s for sure!
Thank you, all, for dropping by – that was so sweet of all of you to take the time and the trouble to do so. A Blessed & Happy Chinese New Year again to all of you, may God bless everyone abundantly in the year ahead. Cheers!!!
14 thoughts on “You’re welcome anytime…”
Looks like a great time, Arthur! Such lovely photos! 🙂
That’s what these festive seasons are all about – being happy, sharing all the smiles and cheer.
You had quite a crowd.
I am not familiar with any of the steamed cakes. Are they only available during festivals?
No, they’re available all year round. These steamed cakes, different types, different names, have been around for some years now – you have been away too long, obviously.
Best not to buy from the stalls by the roadside or market – loads of preservatives, I’m sure. Better to go to the specialists, they keep theirs refrigerated but of course, theirs will not last very long. Maybe just two or three days out of the fridge so just cut a bit to take out and serve every day. That way, they will keep a lot longer.
CNY, a great time to visit & meet each other especially those we have not met for ages. Kek belacan??…I guess it derives its name from the colour which looks like belacan. Love the fruit pudding.
You have not heard of kek belacan? It’s the most popular cake at the moment, since last year, I think. Very nice. My favourite, I think, out of the three I bought.
We also did not have open house but we did prepared food for those who dropped by.
Pretty busy with my in-laws around and hubby with his church service so we were in and out most of the times. And I fall sick on 4th day. Sore throat. Still recovering from it.
Oh dear!!! Hope you’re feeling better, get well soon. You should see the post-Chinese New Year crowd at the medical centre, the clinics all packed with people. All falling sick after the feasting and celebrating, it seems.
Same here, no open house but I did order some cakes earlier and my missus did buy some cookies and stuff so we did have a bit to offer to anyone dropping by – they did not eat much of anything though, just came to extend their New Year greetings.
I wonder what ingredients have been added to the moss cake…
You can google the recipe, there’s Horlicks, kaya, condensed milk and lots of pandan leaf extract/juice. Very rich, very fragrant, very nice…and my ex-student’s wife added peppermint so you get that hint of mint that you will not find when you buy this cake from the shops or stalls.
Quite lau juak your new year and it’s wonderful to have laughter and merriment all round. I am very curious about kek belacan. Not an appetizing name 🙂
You can google the recipe. 10 egg yolks, butter – Golden Churn no less…and like the kek lumut, Horlicks, kaya and condensed milk…but no pandan extract/juice. Instead, there is Milo, cocoa powder, browning. One look at the ingredients, you would know it is going to be very very very nice. You will never want to eat those mediocre “common” cakes ever again.
Of all the cakes, my favourite will be the fruit pudding…
You’ve never tried these steamed cakes and kek lapis, definitely not these special homemade ones…so you are not in the position to make a comparison. All nice!
I’d like to try the fruit pudding. It looks very moist.
It’s a family recipe – my mum used to make and her sisters, my aunts but all my aunts are gone now and my uncle’s wife is the only one now baking this every Christmas and Chinese New Year. I think one of my aunts’ daughter-in-law, my cousin’s wife, did learn from her so she can make it too. Very nice!!!
Cake belachan had me wondering – till I read you explanation!
Very rich, steamed cake, very very nice – nothing like those extra sweet, heavy western cakes – not a fan of those. There certainly is a bit of resemblance to belacan, don’t you think?
The desserts are definitely worth ordering, all look pretty new and good to me!
Desserts? They’re cakes!!! You did visit the kek lapis stall when you were in Sibu, you did not buy any? They do have some very nice ones there as well. Used to buy from them…but not this year as my ex-student’s wife is making. Nothing beats own home-made!