Brownies…

No, I did not go out to buy these brownies…

…that’s for sure, not when I am presently on a low-sugar diet!

So how did we end up having these beauties to enjoy? Well, my girl’s friend got these for her birthday from a friend who stays next door to my friend/ex-student whose wife runs this homebased business…

…making brownies and everything else and he got them from them for her. You can hop over to their Facebook page to have a look. My girl’s friend gave my girl some to try so that was how we managed to get some in the end. Gosh!!! That’s so complicated! LOL!!!

I tried the one with the Kit Kat on top…

…and yes, I would say it was very nice. It was sweet but not too sweet.

A long long time ago, I used to buy the brownies from what was called the Applebee Bakery then, now Uniqbun, the bakery section of our Sarawak own franchise, the Sugar Bun. Theirs were very nice but very very sweet, with cherry slices and strawberry jam squiggles on top – it was all right then as I was not on a low-sugar diet. I enjoyed them so much at the time that I just could not resist buying one once in a while to nibble nibble.

We also got the ones with the almond flakes…

…but I guess the only difference would be what’s on top.

Of course we shall not be ordering these…

…from them unless we want to give them to somebody but if any of you is thus inclined, you can call them or check out their Facebook page and PM them from there.

Lucky sometimes…

I guess I was lucky when I dropped by this bakery that morning and managed to grab hold of two butterfly fritters/ma ngee (horse’s ears) selling at a discounted price as they were left over from the previous day. I went there again the other morning but no, I was not so lucky this time around. I asked the girl there and she said I could drop by around 1 something in the afternoon – the freshly-made ones would be available then.

I rummaged through all the items on sale in the tray and managed to find these…

They are something like pita bread or the Indian naan and they cut them in halves and cut a slit into which they will stuff a slice of ham, cheese and lettuce. My girl enjoys these half pockets (sandwiches)…

…so whenever I see any available, I will surely buy for her, a nice change from the usual sandwiches.

These kosong (empty) ones are RM2.20 each but that morning, they were going for RM1.00 only. So cheap! I would love to buy more but unfortunately, there were only two of them.

I did not have any ham in the house but I took a slice…

…and toasted it in a non-stick pan to make my own version of the sandwich using the bak kua (barbecued meat slices) that I bought that day. I think it would be very nice to eat it with curry as well. My missus had the other slice with canned chili tuna and yes, she enjoyed it. I certainly would love to buy some more should I happen to see them again.

On another day, I went to one of my neighbourhood shops and I bought these burger buns…

from this bakery and on another morning, I had one with yes, a slice of the bak kua! My girl took one of the pork patties, still in the freezer after all this time and made herself a burger with fried mushrooms added and she enjoyed that very much.

I love these buns a lot more than their regular sandwich bread because when I toast it in the oven, the outer part becomes slightly crusty while the inside is so very soft, so soft that it is quite impossible to cut into halves so to make a burger, I would have to cut it first before toasting.

I also love the mini buns from this same bakery, their kaya and butter buns, a whole lot nicer than this one and all the rest, also sold at that same shop. The butter ones can give those delightful ones from Sarikei a good fight. I did not plan on blogging about them so I did not take any photographs that day – I shall do that the next time I get hold of some more from the shop…or from the bakery itself.

I bought their pizza stick too – I think it was RM2.80 each but it wasn’t anything to shout about, nothing more than a plain bread stick with a little bit of some kind of pizza sauce or whatever on top. This chocolate cheese bun (RM3.50)…

…on the other hand, was VERY nice, particularly so after being toasted lightly in the oven. Unfortunately, it was very sweet so I just had a bit since I am on a low-sugar diet and let the ladies in the house enjoy it all.

More recently, in the morning, I stopped by the fruit & vegetable sundry shop in the next lane from my house and got these ang ku kuih (RM1.00 each)…

…with mung bean filling…

…except that they were yellow in colour, not red. Yes, they were nice and I particularly liked how they were not sweet. I sure would not mind buying some more should I happen to see them at that shop again.

I bought a few of these tapioca fritters (RM1.00 each)…

…to try as well but no, they did not sweep me off my feet.

I liked the tapioca inside…

…but its very light taste was overshadowed by the taste and smell of the deep fried batter that the cucur (fritter) was coated with. I think I would enjoy plain boiled tapioca…

…a lot more.

I guess this is the case when you go around buying this and that to eat and try – if you are lucky, you will get something very nice that you will want to go back for more but on the other hand, you may not be as lucky and end up with something you wouldn’t mind if you would never get to see it again.

No sugar…

I guess everybody knows by now that I’m on a low-sugar diet and I do mean low sugar, not no sugar but actually, even if I do not take any sugar at all, there are still the hidden sugars in foods like fruits and carbohydrates. Of course, I try my best to keep it to a low minimum and avoid indulging in anything that is sweet. That is why instead of kaya (coconut jam, which I do enjoy a lot) and fruit jam, I will go for peanut butter instead with my bread or crackers.

The other day, I ran out of peanut butter in the house so I headed to one of the neighbourhood shops to buy a new bottle. Yes, I do know for a fact that there IS sugar in peanut butter even though it does not taste all that sweet. The only solution would be to either go without it completely or to apply sparingly – in my case, of course, I would go for the latter option.

Much to my delight, as I was browsing through the brands available that day, I spotted this…

Needless to say, I wasted no time at all in grabbing a bottle and headed home.

Yes, it states very clearly on the label that it is UNSWEETENED so if you look at the ingredients at the back, you will not find SUGAR in the list…

…unlike all the other brands of peanut butter including the one I was eating before this – Lady’s Choice.

I prefer my peanut butter creamy but I did not have a choice. They only have the crunchy ones…

…at the shop but if you look carefully, there are no clearly visible crunchy chunks unlike some of the other brands.

I tried a bit with some crackers…

…and yes, I do think that it is very nice, just like any other peanut butter. I must say that it does not make any difference at all that there is no sugar in it and I love the taste. I wish they had this in bigger bottles though, not these medium-size ones going for RM8.20 a bottle, the same as the regular ones.

Moving away from the peanut butter, I just want to add here that my sister sent me this black sesame Swiss roll…

…from Belle Cake House at the Bukit Lima roundabout to try. I think she found that it was not sweet so it would be good for me.

The texture was good, very soft and very fine…

…but other than the fact that it was so slightly sweet that I almost could not detect its sweetness, I thought it wasn’t anything to shout about.

Sighhh!!! I guess there is no such thing as a no-sugar cake unless one goes for those nasi lemak ones which seem to be quite popular these days but I should be fine with low sugar ones like this Swiss roll, just a slice or two at a time.

BELLE CAKE HOUSE (2.277921, 111.851059) is located at No. 59, Jalan Bukit Lima Timur 9. Their telephone contact is: 084-254886.

Discounts…

I went out for a drive early the other morning. I do that every day to recharge the car battery.

In the past, I would just start the car and leave it running for 10-15 minutes but no, after a while, the battery just went kaput. The workshop guy told me I should not do that and I should drive around so that is exactly what I’ve been doing since.

I stopped by this bakery…

…in the commercial area round the corner from my house because my girl seemed to enjoy the buns that her ex-coursemate bought in Sarikei that day and gave to us. The other bakery opposite and the one beside the fast food franchise at the back were both still closed – it was that early in the morning.

I am not all that keen on dropping by these places as they did appear in the daily lists of places where there were people tested positive before but I have not seen them mentioned again lately. Anyway, it was so early in the morning – there was only one girl there at work, sorting out the newly-arrived buns that morning and placing them on the shelves, nicely labelled.

I saw a tray of assorted buns from the previous day that they were selling at discounted prices. Unfortunately, they were not tagged or labelled so I did not know what buns those were…and the girl was so busy that I did not feel nice asking her.

In the end, I just picked two of these…

…the only two in the tray.

I think they are usually called butterfly fritters but the Foochow version here is called ma ngee (horse’s ears) and of course, they are called by all sorts of names. In the past, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, people would wait for these to come out of the kitchen, usually after 1.00 p.m. in the afternoon. The instant they appeared, they would all be snapped up, gone in no time at all.

They would be coated with a sprinkling of sugar but being a day old, obviously, that had melted completely. Other than that, everything was fine…

…and we enjoyed it so much especially when we had not had it for a while now.

They used to sell these home-made ones…

…in the afternoon at the fruit & vegetable sundry shop in the next lane from my house and of course, I would hop over to buy quite regularly. These were more authentic but the aforementioned ones from the bakery are just as nice, if not nicer even though they may not be as old-school as these.

I also bought two loaves of bread, one with walnut and cranberries and a plaited one with blueberry jam that looked a bit like the one from Sarikei that we liked a lot, minus the raisins. Both tasted great! Unfortunately, I did not ask for the breakdown of the prices so I do not know how much those ma ngee were after discount. They used to cost RM1.00 each, dunno now. Altogether, I paid RM9.90 for all my purchases that morning.

WeCare Bakery, Pedada outlet (2.311098, 111.846125) is located at the corner shoplot, back to back with the Sugar Bun outlet in that area to the left of Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai).

Separated…

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday last Wednesday and in the past, without fail every year, her daughter, my niece, working in Singapore would fly home the weekend before to celebrate this special day with her parents and of course, we would always be invited. This was the last time when we managed to get together, in 2019.

Because of the pandemic, she did not come back last year and of course, she could not make it this year as well. People say the world is getting smaller – we can fly here and there anytime we want but in the face of the current situation, things have changed. There are so many restrictions, very expensive and very limited flights, if there are any at all so much so that families that are separated because of work or whatever commitments can no longer get together whenever they want to. That is so very sad.

Even without my niece around, we could not even go out for a special dinner on the day in question. Yes, we are in Phase 3 now and dining in is allowed but no, we are not taking any chances. With the Delta variant rampantly active and the increasing number of cases daily despite the number fully-vaccinated in the town and state, it is best to just #staysafe #staywell #stayhome.

Of course we did not let the day go past unnoticed. I gave my sister-in-law an ang pao and my missus cooked het my brother-in-law’s favourite, chicken curry and my girl made some potato bread to go with it.

My brother-in-law went and ordered her a cake, our favourite from Marcus…

…no less with the coating of crushed peanut all along the side…

…the way his daughter loves it even though she is not home to enjoy that with the rest of us.

Of course it was perfectly done, that same high standard that Marcus’ cakes would always live up to over the years…and of course, I cannot over-indulge and give in to the temptation to feast on it like before now that I am on a low-carb low-sugar diet so I just had to limit myself to that one slice. How sad!

In the meantime, my sister-in-law also gave us this swiss roll…

My missus said something about her friend giving it to her or something like that. I went and googled and found out that this…

…is actually a home-based business. I browsed through their Facebook page and had a look at their menu. This…

…it seemed, was their black sesame (RM5.50). Just as with the aforementioned cake from Marcus, I had to restrict myself to just one slice only even though I found that it was not sweet at all. Yes, I would say that it was nice but I found the texture of the cake a bit too fine and dense. One consolation would be the fact that it is cheaper than the ones here that I like a lot.

You can order a special homemade MARCUS’ CAKE via telephone at 084-311333 and collect it on the day at the time agreed upon from his house at No. 6B. Lorong Delta 3, Delta Estate (2.305015, 111.826185) and HOPE GOURMET PASTRY HOUSE is located at No. 8B, Lorong Ulu Sg Merah 21 (Tel. No. 0199842289 / 0193963128).

For better or for worse…

I had to make my way to the town centre last Sunday as there were things that I needed to buy and I decided to go early as there would be fewer people around. Unfortunately, I did not look at the clock carefully and got there…

…at least half an hour too early and they were not open for the day yet. I decided to go over to the shops across the road in the block behind the petrol station to buy a few things that I could keep in the fridge/freezer to heat up for my breakfast in the morning.

I stopped by here to buy their char siew pao (RM2.20 each)…

…which are a little cheaper than the ones (RM2.50) at the dim sum place that I went to that day. Gosh!!! They were only RM1.50 each when they first started their business in 2017.

I like the skin of the ones here, soft and cushiony, a lot more than the mushy cotton-like skin of the dim sum ones and the ones that day were not all that great – they would need to improve on their making of the skin. The ladies in the house thought the filling was too sweet for their liking but I was fine with it. Actually, if you asked me, I would say that I liked the filling of that one more than this one…

To me, this one was kind of dry, not quite to my fancy. If I am not wrong, it was not like this before, much nicer.

Moving on from the char siew paos, I was quite sure that I bought their lor mai kai once before and I did not like it. However, a foodie friend bought one sometime ago and he shared the photograph on Facebook. I commented that I would go there and buy too but I never did…and that was before the pandemic started!!!

Well, finally, I managed to get hold of one (RM4.00)…

…RM1.00 cheaper than the one I bought at the dim sum place but that one was bigger.

Yes, there was a bit of meat plus shitake mushroom inside this one as well…

…but it was overcooked – the glutinous rice was way too soft and way too sticky and I did not quite fancy the taste either, all soy sauce and nothing much else. Despite the fact that it costs a ringgit more, personally I do feel that the other one is a much better buy.

While I was there, I also picked up a packet of these (RM2.00)…

…for my girl and yes, they were all right, probably the same as the ones I bought here before. I was told that there are two different people making these kuihs and leaving them for sale at this shop (and elsewhere) and looking at the rest of the stuff that morning, I was quite sure these were made by this girl who has been around since 2019 and is obviously doing very well.

I also stopped by the coffee shop next door to buy these changs (meat dumplings) with peanuts (RM4.00 each)…

My ex-student/lawyer friend, Louis, gave me one to try that day and I really enjoyed it. I gathered that these are Hakka changs and personally, I do feel that they are very nice and all things considered, I would much sooner buy these…

…instead of the aforementioned lor mai kai, both of them.

SIN KIAW CAFE (2.291287, 111.826611) is located along Ramin Way, the first shop on your right as you turn in from Jalan Kampung Nyabor, behind the petrol station located at the bend and HONG KONG PUFF is right next door, to the left.

I have a go…

I had a pork burger…

…for breakfast that morning.

In my blogpost the other day, I mentioned that my girl asked the mum to buy her some pork patties and I thought they looked kinda small, good for making sliders if we had some mini dinner rolls so even though we had some burger buns in the house that day, I did not bother to use them as I had the impression that they would be too big.

Then, the other day, my brother-in-law dropped by my house and passed us this loaf of bread…

His missus made some jam using the roselle that she grows at home and she gave us two bottles of that and my brother-in-law went and bought us the bread to eat it with. That was so nice and considerate of him – he probably knows that we hardly ever go out. I don’t know if the one from here is any good or not but I loved the butter bread from this bakery near my house and I used to buy it quite often but now that I am on a low carbs diet, I have not bought any from there for quite a while.

Anyway, I thought I could take a slice and cut it into two and that would be the right size for a mini-sandwich using one of my girl’s pork patties. I did not do that in the end because when I opened the fridge, I saw that there was still one of those buns that my missus bought that day so I decided to just use it and finish it off once and for all.

I cut the bun into two and toasted it in the oven, outside and inside and I buttered both parts generously before adding a slice of smoked cheddar cheese and putting them back in the oven to melt the cheese a bit. In the meantime, I fried the pork patty and once it was done…

…I placed it on the cheese on the bottom half of the bun. Blame it on my insecurity but I just had to cut the patty up to make sure it was perfectly cooked inside. I must say that the bun was not too big nor was the patty too small after all, just right!

I placed two tomato slices…

…on the patty and I fried an egg…

…and that went on top.

I cut the burger into halves so as to show its cross-section…

…and yes, I must say that it looked really good. I sure wouldn’t mind a bit of lettuce though – for the colour, if not for anything else.

Yes, finally, I had a go at my girl’s pork patty, my own pork burger…and yes, I would say it was very nice but personally, I think I prefer bacon.

AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) is located after the Maju Tyre shop at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai on the right along Jalan Dewan Suarah and WeLove Bakery, Pedada outlet (2.311098, 111.846125) is located at the corner shoplot, back to back with the Sugar Bun outlet in that area to the left of Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai).

Cross the street…

We did not have much left for dinner that day so I told my missus not to cook because that would mean there would be leftovers which we would have to go on eating the following day(s).

I decided to drop by here to tapao the fried kway teow (flat rice noodles), RM10.00 for the three of us, from the chu char (cook & fry) place at the back. We’ve been there a number of times and yes, we did enjoy what we had everytime. It was around 4.00 p.m. and yes, it was open but I wasn’t sure whether they would be cooking or not at that very odd hour in the afternoon. The kampua stall was closed and there wasn’t a single soul around other than a young guy sitting there looking extremely bored. I placed my order and walked across the street to stock up on the Low GI bread that I do enjoy quite a bit. We’ve run out for a while now but I did not feel like going out to buy…anything, for that matter.

When I got to the bakery, I saw that there was one loaf left so I asked for that one and I saw that there were quite a few chia seeds bread (RM6.50 each)…

…available. I used to buy that for my girl to take to her school in the jungle and eat there but since she came back, I don’t remember buying it anymore.

I went and googled and I must say that I was rather impressed by all the health benefits of eating those seeds…

Among others, according to this website, those seeds may reduce blood sugar levels and lower your risk of heart disease. As far as I know, my girl takes those seeds in her drink sometimes.

I tried a slice with butter and peanut butter…

…for breakfast the next morning but it was…just like bread. I must say that some may have a nicer taste and texture, depending on the bakery, but I’m afraid I did not think this was one of them. Personally, I would rather go for the Low GI bread which is nice and 20 sen cheaper, only RM6.30 a loaf.

I toasted a slice to eat with my half-boiled egg with butter added…

According to a reader in Canada who comments on my posts sometimes, instead of soy sauce, they eat it with butter so of course, I wanted to give it a try.

Come to think of it, I do add butter to the egg when I make my egg sandwiches. I will cook the eggs till the white is hard and the yolk is no longer runny but still moist and then I will mash them, adding butter…and cheese too! My mum used to add salt only when she made those sandwiches for us – life was a lot simpler, less complicated then. LOL!!!

I’m afraid it did not sweep me off my feet – I still prefer my half-boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper…

As they say, old habits die hard!

Yes, I did buy a loaf of the Low GI bread as well that day to keep in the fridge. The two loaves should last quite a while so I would not have to go out and buy anymore for sometime. #staysafe #staywell #stayhome

As for the fried kway teow that day, it was nice but there was so much of it that the three of us were unable to finish it all which, of course, meant that like it or not, we ended up having some leftover to bring forward to the next day.

AH PING CAFE is located in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah, Sibu right across the lane from AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) after the Maju Tyre shop at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah.

Good 4 u…

I went back to the bakery to grab another loaf of the Low GI bread and this time around, I saw this one with cranberries and walnuts…

…and of course, I wanted that!

I’ve known about the health benefits of cranberries for a long time now and everytime I saw packets of the dried ones being sold at the supermarket, I certainly would grab one to enjoy…like eating raisins. You can read all about those benefits here and according to this website, they actually lower blood sugar but do take note of the warnings in the article regarding canned cranberries and also cranberry juice.

Owing to the sweetness of the cranberries plus the walnuts, it is nice to eat it on its own like how folks around here love those butter scotch bread from Gardenia.

However, I decided to have it differently the next morning for my big western breakfast…

I toasted a slice of the bread…

…and applied butter to it generously and served it with a slice of cheese plus a fried egg on top. In addition to that, I fried two slices of bacon till nice and crispy and one sausage and I pan-grilled a tomato cut into halves…

…to go with the aforementioned. I prefer tomato raw, not a fan of it cooked but I love it grilled this way.

I sure enjoyed the breakfast, a bit too heavy for me these days as I no longer eat that much, not as indulgent as before – I guess once in a long while is fine. As for the bread, it was good but at RM10.20 for a slightly smaller loaf, I think I would just stick to the regular ones with all the seeds, sesame, pumpkin and what have you as those are nice too and are much cheaper, only RM6.30 a loaf.

AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) is located at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah, the second shop in the block on your right as you enter from Jalan Melur, after the Maju Tyre shop.

G.I. blues…

No, this has got nothing to do with Elvis Presley’s compulsory national service stint in the US Army a long time ago – he even made a movie about it. The G.I. that I am talking about here refers to the glycemic index in foods, bread particularly.

According to this website, low-glycemic foods are slower to raise a person’s blood sugar levels than foods with moderate or high scores on the glycemic index and review studies suggest that a low-glycemic diet may help reduce blood pressure in healthy adults.

Well, in my blogpost not too long ago, somebody named Tom posted a comment and this was what he said: In order to prevent blood sugar spikes, you could consume Low GI breads in Aroma Bakery available every Monday, Wednesday & Saturday – they have two types of Low GI bread, just plain Low GI bread and the other type is with nuts etc (fewer pieces and more expensive).

Yes, I’ve heard of the Low GI bread but it was always sold out – I did not know the days then so Tom’s comment sure helped and I managed to get myself a loaf…

…the other day when I was driving past.

Once again, there was a vacant parking space right in front of the bakery…

…and there was nobody around, other than the boss himself.

This must be the plain type…

…that’s supposedly cheaper but I did notice quite a bit of seeds/grains in it.

The first time I had bread like this was way back in 1980 when I went to Australia and New Zealand for the first time. It had a whole lot of seeds/grain and nuts and they kept telling me it was very healthy. Unfortunately, I took one bite and my first response was, “Makanan kuda!” (food for horses). I never wanted to eat anything like that since until recently when I went into wholemeal bread. Quite a number of bakeries are making those these days, RM4.00 a loaf, which is a bit more expensive than plain sandwich bread, RM3.00 or RM3.20 a loaf. This Low GI one is around double the price – RM6.30 a loaf and if you opt for the one with cranberries and walnuts, that is a whooping RM10.20 a loaf.

I took it home and sat down to give it a try right away with butter and peanut butter…

…and much to my delight, I actually thought it was really very nice. My girl seems to enjoy it too and is having a slice or two, toasted and eaten with cheese, every day. She never touched the plain sandwich nor the wholemeal bread before unless we make something with them, egg sandwiches or French toast perhaps.

Never mind that it is a whole lot more expensive than normal bread – we are not really into bread and do not buy it to eat all that often but in view of the fact that my girl likes it and this is better for health, I certainly would want to buy this from now on if and when it is available. After all, like what I’ve been telling people, what is the use of money these days when there is no place to spend it and nowhere to go and we are stuck at home all the time?

Tom also said: This bakery also has sourdough bread every Tuesday only. Sourdough bread doesn’t cause a rise in blood sugar fast. I think somebody did mention it once that they have sourdough bread here but I’ve never bothered to go and check it out. Well, seeing that I just bought the above on Monday and that would take a few days for us to finish, I wouldn’t want to go the following day to buy the sourdough bread. Perhaps I would do that on Tuesday next week and blog about it. We’ll see!

AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) is located at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai along Jalan Dewan Suarah, the second shop in the block on your right as you enter from Jalan Melur, after the Maju Tyre shop.