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Vino de amor…

The name of this place…

La Vino

…reminds me of this song…

…which, it seems, is the vocal version of this must-learn and must-play piece of all my friends in the 70’s who were into the classical guitar but it has a slightly different name, the Romance de Amor/Amour.

Well, I did mention in an earlier post that I did not cook anything special over the weekend when my girl came home so I decided to take her out for a special treat instead. We dropped by here once before when they first started but they were not open for lunch then and somehow or other, we never came back.

Of course, she was delighted when I mentioned that we would be going for pizza…

Salmon pizza

…and that one with a whole lot of salmon came at a whooping RM48.00. Never mind, as long as she enjoyed it and she loves salmon, that girl of mine!

We also ordered their potato roestti (RM22.00)…

potato roestti

…with sausages…

with sausages

…to try.

It was all right – we wouldn’t mind the potato a little softer but we thought the bigger sausage…

Sausage 1

…was very nice and we were wondering if they made the sausages themselves as the chorizo-like one…

Sausage 2

…tasted quite different from the ones I brought back from New Zealand but I loved it, maybe because it had a taste that I am more accustomed to – slightly like those at the char siew barbecued pork stalls…and I do enjoy those.

I saw the beef kway teow Reanaclaire had in Adelaide and that reminded me of a very nice one here that I had a long time ago. I don’t think they have it there anymore as the boss had retired and I am not sure if the current people are still whipping up the dish but I vaguely recall having it at another place that I have not been to for ages and was contemplating upon dropping by to see if they still serve that there. Then, I saw it in the menu (RM16.00)…

Beef kway teow

…and wasted no time in placing our order for it. It was good, with lots of beef, nice and tender despite the fact that I did spot a slice…

Beef

…that was not cut across the grain.

We did enjoy what we had – the servings were huge and what we had were pretty good all right plus the service was great. The place was very crowded though and very noisy…and rather hot. I have read complaints about the latter on Facebook and I thought perhaps it was because of its open kitchen concept and their wood-fired oven…

Pizza oven

…was right in front. We had that at the Italian place we went to in Auckland but it was an open place, not enclosed and air-conditioned and of course, the temperate weather there was so much cooler and nicer so we did not feel the heat at all.

Well, if you ask me, as far as the place, ambiance and taste are concerned, I think I prefer the other one.

Checking it out…

It was quite a while ago when someone mentioned in passing that the coffee here was very good…

Jing Kopitiam

…but I never got round to checking it out till the other morning.

If anyone is interested, it is located almost opposite one of the private hospitals in town and the Sibu Polyclinic is right down that same road…and if you are seated in front at that shop, you will see the “UFO” not very far away.

UFO

Well, the coffee is o.k…

Kopi-o-peng

– I would not say that it swept me off my feet but it was all right, better than a lot of other places but it is RM1.60 a glass though while others may be going for RM1.50 or less and some have already gone up to RM1.80 for quite sometime now.

There are two stalls up front – one, a pizza stall, that was not open that morning and the other, a roti canai stall…

roti canai

…that certainly seemed to be doing pretty well.

The kampua noodle stall is at the back, behind the drinks section, and not visible from the road so those uninitiated would probably think they do not have it there. I ordered a bowl (RM2.80)…

Kampua

…to try and yes, it was very good. It was pretty obvious actually as they did seem to enjoy a roaring business and though it  was just 8 something in the morning, they had run out of liver soup. In the end, I had to settle for their mixed soup (RM4.00)…

Mixed soup

…and it was really very very nice and flavourful. I did not quite care for the sausage and crab stick though – I’m not a fan of those so the next time I order this, I would have to remember to tell them to leave those out and substitute them with a couple of their fresh minced meat balls instead.

All in all, it was a good breakfast, for RM8.40 in total.

Piece by piece…

I did not cook anything really special when my girl came home on Friday for the weekend but I made these bergedil or potato patties or croquettes for her. She loves bergedil and at times, they are available at my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong here. They’re not bad, I would say, though they are usually a tad too oily.

There were two potatoes left in the house so that was all I had to work upon. I washed them, cut them into quarters (so it would be easier to cook) and boiled them. In the meantime, I chopped some spring onions from my garden and peeled, sliced and pounded one Bombay onion…

spring onionsBombay onion

…and I also soaked some udang kering (dried prawns) and pounded them to add to the ingredients. After that, I added some breadcrumbs…

Udang keringBread crumbs

In the past, I had pounded my own cheese crackers but there wasn’t any in the house and I saw a half-used pack of breadcrumbs in one of the airtight containers in the pantry so I just decided to use that instead. Of course, it would be nice to add minced meat, beef especially, but I decided to do it differently.

I mixed everything together and then I put in the boiled potatoes, peeled and eyes removed…

Mix wellAdd potatoes

…and mashed them well. I broke an egg and beat it and added a bit to the mixture as a binding agent…and saved the rest for use later.

Once everything was ready…

Ready to roll

…I rolled the mixture into little balls and flattened them into pieces…

Pieces

…ready to be fried.

I heated some oil in a pan and once it was hot enough, I dipped each piece into the aforementioned egg, coated it with breadcrumbs and dropped it into the oil to fry till golden brown…

Potato croquettes 1

There you are! I let the pieces stand on some kitchen towel for a while to absorb any excess oil…before putting them in a plate to serve…

Potato croquettes 2

It certainly was not difficult to make and I sure would want to make some more some other time and try adding some other ingredients like cheese or ham or bacon. I bet with those, they would taste great too!

Blank space…

“What is this?” I asked.

Mystery sambal 1

I had seen the bottle in the fridge for a few days but I did not know what it was that was inside.

It looked like some kind of sambal that she would use to fry paku or midin (wild jungle fern) or sweet potato leaves or vegetables such as kangkong (water spinach) or long beans. However, it did not look like it had any udang kering (dried prawns) inside but it sure had a very nice fragrance whatever that went into the pounded sambal

Mystery sambal 2

“I don’t know,” she replied…and then she added, “Maybe it’s your tom yam paste?”

No, it was definitely not my tom yam paste – that was still in the original bottle stashed away nicely in the fridge and this sure was not it. Maybe it was some sambal for her ayam balada – I could vaguely recall we had something like that not too long ago but never mind, since she said it was not hers, I decided to just use it and cooked this…

Sambal fried rice 1

Hehehehehehe!!!!

 I fried some ikan bilis in a bit of oil until golden brown and then I removed it to use later for garnishing. Then, I added the sambal into the oil and fried it till it was done before I put in the leftover rice that was in the fridge that morning. Finally, I added two eggs…and it was done! I garnished it with the aforementioned ikan bilis and some chopped spring onions from my garden…

Garnishings

…and served.

It certainly was very very nice and I would want to cook it this way again…

Sambal fried rice 2

– maybe I could add some prawns, pineapple…and lemon grass and curry and Thai basil leaves…and serve it with crushed peanut sprinkled over it. I bet that would be really good but the problem now is…I do not know what went into that mysterious bit of sambal though I am pretty sure I know where that came from. Wink! Wink!

I guess this temporary loss of memory or blackout comes with old age – the mind going blank suddenly. Sometimes, I was telling friends where to go and eat some nice dish…and I just could not recall the name of the place at that point in time…and ever so often, I had just put down my phone some place and I could not remember exactly where so I had to search high and low for it.

That has also happened before when I met my ex-students from way back when. Often, I would shock them by calling out their names and they would exclaim, “Wowwww!!!! You can remember, sir!!!” Of course, I could and I would take pride in that…but there had been occasions when I just could not put a finger on the student’s name and at times like this, I wished they would just tell me, “Hello, sir! Remember me? I’m so and so!” instead of letting me struggle, racking my brain for the elusive name…and the funny thing was, after a few days, the name would just pop up in my head like magic! Tsk! Tsk!

Anybody else in this same boat?

The choice is yours…

I dropped by this place again the other morning and I decided to try their kway teow goreng (fried flat rice noodles)…

De'Mas kway teow goreng

It seemed to have the exact same taste as the fried noodles I had the last time I was here. I guess it must be the same recipe, the same ingredients – they just substituted the yellow noodles with the kway teow…but it was nice, the way they did it, so I did not have any cause for complaint over the fact.

However, I could remember when I had the noodles the last time, though it tasted great, it was devoid of any added ingredients so when I saw them taking out the fried chicken wings from the kitchen, hot from the wok, I asked for one…

De'Mas fried chicken wing

…to go with my kway teow. That was a mistake! No, no…it tasted fine but when I was paying for my orders, I found out that it was RM3.00 each! Oh me oh my! I wonder how much the Colonel charges for one piece of chicken at his place. Long ago, chicken wings (usually the barbecued ones at the roadside stalls…or the deep fried ones at my school canteen before I retired) were RM1.00 each and then it went up to RM1.50…and then, RM2.00…but RM3.00!!! I might as well order a second plate of the kway teow! Tsk! Tsk!

And talking about the kway teow, it certainly was very reasonably charged – at RM3.00 only…compared to those chu-char places where they used to charge RM3.50 a plate (dunno if they have jacked up the prices now) and no, they would not have a lot of added ingredients either – bits of meat, egg and green veg that are hardly visible to the naked eye. So, what I had that morning – the kway teow and the chicken wing…

De'Mas kway teow and chicken wing

…came up to RM6.00. Ouch!!!

Thankfully, the kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee)…

De'Mas kopi-o-peng

…was only RM1.30 compared to RM1.50 at the Chinese coffee shops or RM1.80 for quite a while already at some others. It wasn’t really great though, not as kao (strong) as I would like it to be and typical of many Malay shops, it was very sweet. I certainly would have to put in a kurangkan gula (less sugar) request if ever I would have that again.

Works are going on in the area right now to give the place a nice new image – Bandong Walk, it will be called…

Bandong Walk in the making

…so all the makeshift stalls have shifted to the other side of the road for the time being but this one is new…

New stall

…located in the open space right beside my regular car wash place opposite. One of the guys told me that they would put out tables and chairs and the boys working at the car wash would help out with the serving at night. For one thing, they would be using electric ovens for their pizzas, not the traditional wood-fired stone ones and while I was getting my car washed that morning, the boys had turned the tv on…

Dangdut

…full blast, with some lady belting out a dangdut song.

Of course, the choice is mine…but if it is going to be that noisy, I think I’d pass…thank you very much!

I choose you…

If I were to choose one brand of luncheon meat that I like, it would be this one…

Porkies 1

…made in Denmark…

Porkies 2

…and because there isn’t all that much fat in it…

Porkies 3

…it is not so mushy like some brands and that would put me off right away.

It is salty though so one would have to eat it with rice or bread or add more egg when cooking. To reduce the fat/oil and to get a nice red crusty exterior, I grilled the pieces in a non-stick pan first till all the oil came out  and then I used the oil to fry the sliced Bombay onion and the eggs…and mixing all those together, it was done…

Porkies 4

So very easy! If you want to see photographs of what I did step by step, it is all here in my 2012 post…except that this time around, I did not add any curry leaves as it was raining very heavily that morning and I had no intention of going out to pluck some.

This is available at a number of places in town and prices vary around RM7-8.00 a can. I bought mine at RM7 something but I can’t remember exactly where now. These days, I jolly well can’t afford any of these…

SPAM

…anymore as I saw some at the supermarket near my house going for over RM12.00…and the last time I checked at another supermarket in the town centre, it was already over RM16.00. Absolutely outrageous, those prices…and they’re kind of hard and dry, anyway – not as nice.

These made-in-Singapore ones…

Singapore-made

…and these made-in-the EU, Singapore recipe…

Made in EU Singapore recipe

…are good too but I have not bought any for quite a while now so I am not sure of the current prices of these.

I was ok with the made-in-China Gulong brand at one time but if I’m not wrong, theirs do not come cheap anymore, around RM8.00 a can, and I did read somewhere that there are imitations. Anyway, as long as it is from China, my missus would not touch it…like the RM2.00 something (compared to RM5 something at least these days for the other regular brands) can of sardines that I thought was very nice but because of the bad press the products from there have been getting, I guess it is best to play safe and avoid buying any.

Let’s give it a try…

I still had two little sengkuang/mangkuang, two pieces of tau kua, a bit of prawns and some French beans left so I decided to fry some more popiah filling the same way that I did the other day. We had finished all the skin that we used the previous time but there was this pack…

Popiah skin 1

…in the fridge that my missus bought a while ago – though I wondered why since she has never been into making popiah. other than those little rolls with prawn sambal inside for occasions like Chinese New Year.

Well, this one isn’t as easy as the other peel-and-use type…

Popiah skin 2

…that one would only need to thaw once taken out of the freezer, that’s all.

It sure looks more like the freshly-made popiah skin…

Popiah skin 3

…though, just a little thicker and harder but once steamed, it would turn soft.

However, it tears rather easily though…

Popiah 1

…so it would be best…

Popiah 2

…not to apply the pounded chili or put the filling first. It was fine when I put the thinly-sliced omelette and lettuce first, before adding the filling and the chili, in whichever order, and crushed peanut (this could be at the bottom too, actually) on top and rolled…

Popiah 3

…and yes, one should not be over-ambitious and add too much filling to make one big popiah – the skin will give way, that’s for sure.

I would say it was all right and as the title of the song goes – ain’t nothing like the real thing!

And moving away from the subject of popiahs, I fried this for the girls for breakfast…

Fried bihun

…before sending them back to their school on Sunday – fried bihun with canned stewed pork chop and thinly-sliced French beans and egg. If anyone is interested, I’ve blogged about cooking it before right here…and like what I mentioned then, make sure you get the canned stewed pork chops as this would be mostly lean and all you need to do would be to get rid of the bones and mash the meat into bits and pieces.

Come, give it a try…