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).

Not going out…

It has been way over a week since we have gone into Phase 2 here in Sarawak. Unfortunately, we still see cases here, there and everywhere, a lot at some places, so of course, as far as I am concerned, nothing has changed – I am not going out unless absolutely necessary and even though they allow dining in at the eateries these days, don’t expect to see me sitting in a coffee shop, casting caution to the wind and eating away. I am quite happy to stay at home and enjoy my own-cooked breakfast in the early morning.

My girl asked the mum to buy her these made-in-Singapore purple wheat noodles

…sometime ago and I did help myself to a packet, served with thinly sliced pan-grilled smoked duck breast plus an egg and tomatoes by the side. We prefer the chili and lime flavour but my missus said that it was out of stock and there was only this one, take it or leave it.

This is also made in Singapore, the Myojo mee pok dry and my girl still has a few packets in the house so on another morning, I took one…

..for my breakfast and had it with a few slices of scallop tofu and two poached eggs.

Of course I am well-stocked with our Sibu’s own Mee Daddy, chicken flavour

I had it dry, served with deep fried sotong rings and one fried egg and I made sure that I had a bowl of its most delightful soup by the side.

It is pretty obvious that I do not need to go out at all as I have a whole lot of things to pick and choose to eat first thing in the morning. This was my Bovril spaghetti with corned beef and potatoes plus sliced tomato by the side…

I thought it was nice but I would very much prefer the texture of our own mee sua

…or mee kua/mee pok

…with Bovril to that of the Italian pasta…

…al dente.

There was some leftover rice that day so I cooked my kampung-style belacan and ikan bilis egg fried rice

…something I had not had for a while and I even had a bacon & egg burger

…once.

My missus made these sausage buns…

…one night so we could have them for breakfast. I had two and two half-boiled eggs but I wouldn’t say that they swept me off my feet. There was too little sausage, mostly bread and they were so overwhelmingly strong on the garlic, not in the recipe, she said and that was not entirely to my liking. I toasted them in the oven till nice and crusty and buttered them generously to eat – they were quite all right, after that.

So what am I going to eat today? That is the question I will ask myself every morning when I wake up and of course, I shall have to prepare and cook everything myself. However, all things considered, this is a very small price to pay to #staysafe and #staywell and as far as the enjoyment and satisfaction go, I can say that generally, these are as nice or perhaps, even nicer than anything I can get at a coffee shop outside.

Burger…

My missus went out last Friday. She did not have to even though the last time she went out was two weeks ago as we still had a lot of stuff in the fridge and the freezer, the pantry and the cabinets and all over our spare room downstairs.

Well, she wanted to go out as we had gone into Phase 2 already, here in the state of Sarawak, and the hair salons would be open so she wanted to go and get her hair done, not that anybody would see or we had plans to go anywhere. LOL!!! But frankly, I do feel that we need to pamper ourselves a bit sometimes – that would do a whole lot of good for our sanity. Mine is an absolute mess, going north, south, east and west but no, I’m not bothered to do anything about it just yet.

Anyway, since she was out that day, she dropped by that supermarket in town that imports stuff from countries all over the world and yes, she came home with a whole lot of purchases including these imported from Australia beef patty, Wagyu no less…

…and another one, Angus (both a little over RM10.00 each) and of course, she had to buy some burger buns to eat those with.

The last time she went out, my girl asked her to buy these pork patties…

…four in a pack and she bought two. We did not have any bread or buns in the house so my girl just pan-grilled them and ate just like that with whatever else she had on the side. It would be nice if she had those mini dinner rolls plus all the other ingredients so she could make some nice sliders to enjoy. She still has a pack left, still in the freezer.

In the meantime, she already tried the Angus beef patty that the mum bought and she did cut a section of the burger for me to try. She did not have much else in the burger, other than the patty and a slice of cheese but I would say it was very nice. The patty was juicy and very delicious…unlike the double cheese burger that I had from the outlet of that franchise we have here to appease my craving at one time. That was sometime ago and perhaps, I caught them on a bad day but the patty was dry and hard – I never wanted to buy any from there since. Perhaps one of these days, I can stop by a bakery and buy some mini-buns for the pork patties.

Well, in case you’re wondering, no, I did not want to eat that Wagyu patty – I would want to leave that for my girl to enjoy but since we had a lot of burger buns in the house, I decided to make my own using whatever I could find…

I took one of the buns and toasted it lightly, inside and outside and buttered it generously and I pan-grilled some slices of the smoked back bacon that I had in the freezer to put in the burger, along with a slice of cheddar cheese, two slices of tomato, topped with one fried egg.

This was what the cross-section was like…

It sure looked great, don’t you think? Well, I must say that it tasted really good too but of course, I must not indulge in it too much – too many of those big buns would do a whole lot of damage to my low-carbs diet, I’m sure but I guess once in a long while should be fine.

TA KIONG EMPORIUM (2.2933,111.82713,783) is located at No. 42-46, Jalan Tuanku Osman and DELTA – THE MARKETPLACE (2.311968, 111.847043) is located in the basement of the Delta Mall, Taman Seduan 8, Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).

Wild…

I have not been to the Sibu Central Market since the outbreak of the pandemic last year so it has been way over a year since I last bought our giant udang galah (freshwater prawns).

They are very strict with the SOPs if you want to go into the place but once you are inside, it is a free-for-all – you can go anywhere you please, stand wherever you like, no marks on the floor to indicate where you must stand or queue…and when there were reports of cases involving the sellers and the customers, they closed down the place for sanitisation but it did not seem to help much as cases kept recurring. Other than that, I heard that not all stalls would be open each day, either by choice or by order from the authorities – they are asked to take turns.

I definitely would not want to go near the jungle produce section as records have shown that most of the clusters involve the longhouses including the one at Pasai Siong that brought the whole state of Sarawak to its knees. For this reason, all this time, we hardly eat anything that grows wild in the jungle including our favourite jungle ferns – the midin and the paku because we do not usually get these at the neighbourhood shops and vegetable stalls.

Well, the other day, I had to go out to change the batteries in my car’s remote control and on the way back, I decided to stop by those in the next lane to see if they had anything I would want to buy. To keep my distance from the few customers around at the time, I did not go near the stalls on the five-foot-way and instead, I just stayed on the main road and looked from afar.

Much to my delight, I saw some paku at the vegetable stall so I waited till the customer there at that point in time was done and had left. She bought a whole lot of kua chai (mustard green) to make salted/preserved vegetables and the seller was telling her what to do. I overheard her saying that she must take out the vegetables after 7 days, otherwise she would have to wait till 30 days before she could do so. Hmmm…I don’t think I’ve heard anything to this effect before.

Once the coast was clear, I approached the stall and asked for the paku. The chatty lady said it was very fresh and very green because it rained the whole day the day before. It did not look like a lot so I asked her how much it was and she said RM4.00. I said I would take it all and she put it on the weighing scale and said, “RM5.40!” I suppose what she told me initially was the price per kilo and she had more than one kilo.

I took it home and that day, we had paku fried with sambal hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns)…

…for lunch and dinner.

That was so good and the very next day, we had it masak lemak (cooked in santan/coconut milk)…

…with thinly sliced scallop tofu and a whole lot of the little prawns…

…that I bought sometime ago and yes, we sure enjoyed that to the max.

There is still a bundle left – my missus has wrapped it nicely using cling wrap and kept it in the fridge. I don’t know how we will cook it next – perhaps we shall use it for our simple but very nice kampung-style sayur rebus

…minus the giant freshwater prawns, of course. No matter what, I am staying far far away from the central market – #staysafe #staywell

Only RM5 something for so much enjoyment and satisfaction – I must say that is a whole lot of value for money compared to those vegetables that may cost and arm or a leg and burn a big hole in your pocket.

Sultans of swing…

I dreaded buying ikan sultan as more often than not, it would be one of those farmed ones and in those farms where they do not have running water in the fish ponds, the fish would have an unpleasant mud smell.

The ones from the Batang Ai hydro-electricity lakes should be fine – we get our supply of tilapia from there, alive and no, there is no mud smell at all. These days, you can get the ikan sultan from there too. As a matter of fact, these two types of fish are easily available from my favourite fish & seafood stall near my house but for no particular reason, I never bought those from the nice lady there – I guess I prefer to buy the freshly-caught ones.

It so happened that my missus went out sometime ago to stock up on food supplies in the house and she came home with not one but TWO frozen Batang Ai ikan sultan from the supermarket near my house. She steamed one and even though it did not have that mud small, the fish had its own smell which I was not entirely fond of. I had to eat it with soy sauce, something I would do when things do not taste so great.

I reminded her of the one that Peter, the boss of Payung, gave to me…

…a long time ago, cooked by one of the Iban ladies working at his café. She removed all the scales so the fragrances of all the ingredients she added could go into the fish. There was serai (lemon grass), chili and a whole lot of leaves and she wrapped everything in either daun pisang (banana leaves) or daun kuyit (turmeric leaves), I can’t remember exactly now, and it tasted really good, no smell whatsoever.

My missus decided to cook the second ikan sultan in her own way with the same ingredients for otak-otak, scales removed and baked it in the oven, wrapped in daun kunyit on the inside, aluminum foil on the outside…

…and boy, I must say it was really very very good!

There wasn’t any of that fish smell that I did not quite like in the first one that we had, steamed. The really fine and smooth meat of the fish was so very sweet…

…enhanced by all the tastes and fragrances of the ingredients used. We sure enjoyed it so much that day and make no mistake, we surely will buy more ikan sultan after this and cook it this same way or in the ethnic way, like how Peter’s worker did way back then.

Happy for a while…

No, I was not expecting it that day, not in the least as there were still a considerable number of cases at some places here, Kuching, for example but out of the blue, they announced that Sarawak would be going into Phase 2 on Wednesday, 14th July and dining in would be allowed.

Of course, I was taken by surprise but I was kind of happy that I would be able to go for my haircut – my hair had grown rather long now, making me feel rather uncomfortable and the batteries in my car’s remote controls…

…were running very low. One no longer functioned and the spare wasn’t very much better. I called the service centre but they said they did not have stock – because of the pandemic, there is this problem with the shipping and delivery of things. Now that we would be going into Phase 2, I could go to one car accessories shop to get the batteries replaced. Those shops are classified under non-essentials and were not allowed to open during Phase 1.

I can’t say I was dying to go some place to dine but I sure would not mind that and I was thinking that perhaps, I could go for a nice plate of kampua mee the next morning. Unfortunately, on the evening of the 13th, they announced a shocking piece of news and that there had been a change of plans – dining in would not be allowed as there were at that point in time 17 cases of the super-infectious, super-contagious Delta variant in Kuching…but only dining in would not be allowed, it seemed. I wonder if those cases of the Delta variant got infected while they were dining in somewhere and that was why they decided not to allow it? Ok to go marketing, shopping and do everything else?

Anyway, upon hearing that the highly contagious variant had made it into the state, I sure would not want to go anywhere anymore and besides, the next morning, it was raining heavily here – I wouldn’t have gone out even if I could. I was quite happy to cook my own Bovril mee sua

…for my breakfast. I still had the real beef Bovril that I bought the other day but I had run out of the mee pok/mee kua. That wasn’t a problem, of course, as I had my stock of mee sua and if I chose to, I could use the noodles from all the packets of instant noodles that we had in the house.

I had a few slices of smoked duck with it…

The previous time I had that, I just heated up the whole chunk in the oven, sliced and ate. The skin was like rubber, impossible to chew and eat so I had to remove it and throw it away. I asked my blogger-friend, Rose, about it – she had it not too long ago and she said I would have to pan-fry it to make it crispy so that was exactly what I did. The skin turned out very nice, very crispy and I sure enjoyed it.

Never mind that my happiness was short-lived, at least, we are well-stocked with everything we need in the house, no need to go out to buy this and that all the time. Whatever phase it is, at a time like this, it will be best to just #staysafe #staywell #stayhome and pray hard that things will eventually get better.

Cutting down…

I guess everyone knows that I’ve been cutting down on my intake of sugar as well as carbohydrates. That is why my missus will not cook a lot of rice for our meals these days, just a bit for each one of us for lunch and dinner and because of that, we hardly have any leftover rice in the fridge.

I did use it to cook porridge once but I don’t recall using it to cook fried rice. That was why when I spotted a small tub of leftover rice in the fridge the other morning, I wasted no time at all in getting down to frying my kampung-style belacan ikan bilis and egg fried rice…

…more or less the same way like how I did it in April last year, 2020

…using basically the same ingredients…

…except that I decided not to add any shallots this time around.

The steps were more or less the same, minus the adding of the shallots part, just the chopped garlic – you can click the link to go and have a look at the whole process if you are interested and before I dished it all out of the wok, I threw in some chopped spring onions from my garden.

Yes, just so Uncle Roger would approve, I did sprinkle a bit of msg at the end and just like what I said that previous time – “I certainly would fry it again this way should there be anymore leftover rice in the fridge and no, I shall not be taking any more photographs while cooking and I shall make sure that I do not burn the shallot and the garlic again.”

I did not take any snapshots so I did not burn anything and it…

…turned out really nice, a lovely change from all that bread, all the crackers and the instant noodles that I have been having for my breakfast all these months.

Instantly…

To say that it was torturing to see my blogger-friend, Phong Hong’s posts on her curries would be an understatement. Her devil’s curry was a killer and this looked good too – what she said was the Kelantanese chicken curry, the kuzi ayam and of course, her mum’s delicious and easy chicken curry here and also here.

Easy would be the last word to describe it if it comes to cooking curry from scratch. My mum would do that and people would come from near and far to our open house during Christmas and Chinese New Year specially for her curry and she would serve that with her roti baiyee (Indian bread) or sandwich bread when that ran out…and no, there were no food processors, no blenders at the time and no prize for guessing whose services she would enlist to pound ALL the ingredients. “Aboi!!! Kok chin chor! Khak eyew tampok! Kok tui kok!!!” (Not yet! Still very coarse, a bit finer. Pound some more!!!)

Of course, it would be nicer to cook from scratch but looking at the amount of work involved, it comes as no surprise that this is best reserved for special occasions or those times few and far between when the craving creeps in. However, despite all the effort, it is not foolproof! Some days, the chilies are extra spicy, other days, they are not hot at all. At times, one’s favourite curry powder is out of stock and the substitute is not so nice…and there have been times also when the spices were too new, too fresh so the smell from the curry came out somewhat overpowering.

We have tried different kinds of instant pastes and some were not too bad, quite all right but they were all not quite there. Then, we came across this one – the A1 Mountain Globe brand and it instantly became our favourite and the favourite of all we’ve introduced it too. It is even available overseas, like at the Asian shops in Australia, for instance and since it is so very nice and so very easy/convenient to use, we have not cooked curry from scratch for a long long time now.

As a matter of fact, using this, it is so easy to cook curry that my missus would cook it so very often, every week…almost and at one time, she would cook those same old dishes all the time until the pandemic broke out. Having a lot more time on her hands, she started to cook some new dishes that she had never cooked before until I began to miss those comfort food that I grew kind of tired of but eventually started to miss them.

One day she cooked her soy sauce chicken with Bombay onions and potatoes, a simple dish but I enjoyed it so much and of course, I told her so in no uncertain terms. Much to my delight, the other day, she cooked this chicken curry…

…and yes, she used that A1 Mountain Globe instant paste and yes, like Phong Hong, she added evaporated milk instead of santan (coconut milk).

Some years ago, I was at my cousin’s Hari Raya open house and I enjoyed his curry so much. I thought it was a bit different so I told him so and he told me that they added evaporated milk. Since then, we would use that too but we do use santan sometimes for a change. The problem with santan is you must be careful how you handle your curry – your spoon, ladle and scoop must be dry and clean, not used for something else and in our hot and humid tropical climate, on very hot days, by evening, it might have gone bad (basi/chau sui), best kept refrigerated and reheated come dinnertime.

Usually, we would only add potatoes to our chicken curry but that day, I saw my missus throwing in some brinjal…

…as well. My mum used to do that sometimes and my missus said that her mum likewise.

My girl loves vegetable curry or vegetables in her curry and she loves brinjal a lot. I told my missus to add the ladies’ fingers…

…that we had harvested from the ones growing in my garden and yes, my girl loved those too! Usually, we would only add ladies fingers and also brinjal to fish (head) curry, alongside some tauhu kee (bean curd sticks), tauhu pok (tofu puffs) and a few slices of pineapples.

We certainly enjoyed the curry that day but unfortunately, I am now on a low-carb diet so I had to control myself and refrain from going for a second plate of rice.

I did that…

I did that before! I planted a whole lot of ladies’ fingers, 10 plants altogether in 2016 and yes, when they started to bear fruit, we had a tough time trying to eat them all. Eventually, we grew so sick of the vegetable that I did not care if I would never ever see it again. As a matter of fact, I refused to buy it whenever I went marketing.

Well, the other day, I did blog about how my girl and the mum have taken to planting vegetables, brinjal AND ladies’ fingers!!! So far, we have yet to see any brinjal but, yes, the ladies’ fingers have started to flower…

…and bear fruit…

The first two they harvested were way over a foot long – they did not know what variety it was that they planted and they thought it was the currently very popular extra-long ones. Unfortunately, they were not and the two were way too old, so old that they were very hard and totally not edible.

Having learnt their lesson, the second time around, they harvested around five when they were less than 6 inches long…

…and those were perfect! We certainly enjoyed eating them very much.

I sure am glad that they are bearing fruit…

…around this point in time when we are not all that keen on going out. With these growing in my backyard, we can pluck them to cook for our vegetable dish time and time again while happily staying home.

There aren’t many ways to eat them though. Most of the time, we will slice them and fry with sambal hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns)…

…or we will steam or lightly boil them and ulam with sambal belacan (dried prawn paste)…

…and yes, we’ve thrown them, along with some brinjal and pineapple slices into our fish (head) curry…

…too.

So far, we’ve never tried stuffing them with fish paste to cook yong tofu style…

Perhaps we can try doing that when the brinjal plants start to bear fruit as well.

Keep it inside…

The other day, my girl said she would cook lunch so we just let her do what she wanted. When everything was ready, she asked us to go and eat.

She toasted a few slices of these wraps, a new variety with chia seeds…

…for us to use and we were supposed to add this special sauce…

…that she made. She could not open a bottle of what I thought was mushroom pasta sauce, if I was not mistaken, and enlisted my help to do it for her. I did not ask her but I overhead her telling the mum all the spices and whatever things she added to the sauce.

The main ingredient in the filling was this minced beef…

…that she cooked and we also added some tomato and cucumber…

…as well.

This was optional, the truffle mayonnaise…

…and yes, I did add a bit together with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese…

Before I rolled it all up, I folded one end of the wrap inwards to keep everything inside. I wouldn’t want all the filling to fall out through the open end at the bottom while I was eating it…

Yes, it was very nice and I did enjoy it very much.

I had a second one to which I added a lot more of the special sauce and left out the truffle mayo and the cheese and I thought it was not as great as the first one. I suppose every ingredient added had a part to play in bringing out the subtle differences.

Earlier this year, she also cooked us something along these same lines but with prawns, coleslaw and lettuce, all rolled up in these wraps and yes, those were very good too.