In the meantime…

…my girl has used the other box of the gluten-free pizza and focaccia bread mix to make these delightful buns…

Gluten-free garlic cheese buns

…with melted mozarella cheese inside…

Cheese inside

…coated with butter, garlic powder and all the herbs on the outside. It turned out really well and of course, she was very pleased.

She also came home from one of her shopping trips that day with these…

Digestives, plain 1

…that she bought for me from one of the shops round the corner from my house, made in Johore…

Made in Johore

I loved the packaging but no, it came nowhere near those original digestives but when I dunked them…

Digestives, plain 2

…in fresh milk to eat, I did enjoy them a lot more with the added richness of the milk.

She also bought this other variety, chocolate flavoured…

Digestives, chocolate 1

…and between the two, on their own, I thought this one…

Digestives, chocolate 2

…was a bit nicer with the light taste of chocolate and I found that when dunked in my coffee, it was really very nice.

Well, they’re inexpensive especially compared to those imported digestives, some of which may not be all that nice as well so personally, I wouldn’t mind grabbing these should I see them in the shop.

And talking about those shops, I was at the one at the other end of the block, the one that we frequent a lot more, and I saw this mee sua

mee sua

…selling for RM6.00 a bag. It did not look like one of those factory-made ones and the noodles did look finer than those so I grabbed a bag to try. The people at the shop did say it was homemade/handmade and dried but of course, those people would say anything as long as they can sell you something – the test of the pudding is in the eating.

I did not cook any traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup so I could not eat the noodles with that…and these days, considering the prices, I am not all that keen on buying Bovril or Marmite anymore. As a matter of fact, at some shops and supermarkets here, they keep those bottles under lock and key alongside the abalone and the sharks’ fins and birds’ nest. I had no choice but to cook it that same way, kampua mee style but substituting the Bovril with the far more affordable dark soy sauce instead and it actually turned out really nice…

Kampua mee-style mee sua 1

I sure wouldn’t mind buying some more of this mee sua

Kampua mee-style mee sua 2

…again when the current stock runs out.

Gotta get it right…

When it comes to fried eggs, I like it done the traditional old-school way…

Wok-fried

…fried in a wok with a bit of the oil splashed onto the yolk so it will not be “bright and sunny” as in a sunny-side-up. I wouldn’t like it flipped…

Flipped

…though as even though the yolk may still be runny, it does not look all that nice.

I certainly am not crazy about those fried using a ring…

Ring-fried

…but they do that at some places where they do everything on a hot plate. At a burger stall, for instance, they will toast the bun, fry the patty and the egg all at one go…and I guess using the ring will ensure that the egg white does not flow far and wide and will fit nicely in the bun.

I do know for a fact that some people use a few rings at a time, also on a hot plate, so they can fry a number at a time and serve them in a tray or plate like what they do at some nasi lemak stalls. However, I am not fond of the thick and rubbery white in eggs fried this way and besides, one will not get the lovely fragrance and taste of the golden frills all along the edges.

For one thing, the one frying must make sure that the plate is clean or else there will be that unsightly layer of “soot” at the bottom like the one in the above photograph or the one I had here

Burnt and uncooked

…even though the boy did not use a ring and even though he was frying one egg at a time, the end result sure did not look all that palatable.  No, they did not burn the egg, just that the plate was dirty and they went on and fried the eggs on it.

In the case of that last one, the white was still uncooked around the egg, something that I encountered at a five-star hotel in Kuching

Uncooked

I would have thought those guys would have gone to some cooking school and would have the credentials to show but the one who fried the eggs for me sure needed a refresher course…but at least, I saw how he fried two eggs at a time and learnt something that morning – he broke them into a bowl first.

The traditional Malaysian breakfast at the old school Chinese coffee shops would include our local coffee in the thick blue and white cup and saucer way back in the good old days but not anymore,  the loti kiap/roti kahwin (sandwich toast) that I blogged about in yesterday’s post and half-boiled/cooked eggs.

However, for me to cook half-boiled eggs the way my mum used to do it, I would need to boil some water and pour it over the eggs, cold from the fridge, and let them stand for 15-20 minutes depending on the size and also how many I am cooking at one time.That is why I would prefer to just fry them using a non-stick pan as it will be faster this way and besides, I am too lazy to take out my extra-heavy wok (7-ply Zebra brand) even though I do prefer my eggs fried that way.

To fry two at a time, following what I saw the aforementioned guy at the egg station at the hotel did, I would break the eggs into a cup…

In a cup

…heat up the pan and grease it with a bit of oil and pour the eggs into it…

In a pan

Move the pan to swirl the egg white in it and spread it all over the pan and if you are thus inclined, before the white gets cooked, you can push the egg yolks to the middle to make your fried eggs look more presentable, not lop-sided like mine.

Turn down the heat and wait till the egg white is completely cooked and the bottom is lightly browned like this…

Bottom, golden brown

You can cook it a little longer if you wish and on low heat, it is not likely that it will end up burnt.

There you have it! My pan-fried eggs…

Pan-fried

…not uncooked around the yolk, not burnt at the bottom – so very easy, absolutely no problem at all. I really wonder why I see so many people in the food business who just can’t seem to get it right!

Do what you like…

Everyone has his or her own likes and dislikes, his or her own preferences and idiosyncrasies and of course, one is free to do what one likes.

I have a toaster…

Toaster

– it was given to me by a dear friend as a wedding gift; he was my best man but sadly, he had passed away not too long ago, may he rest in peace.

Of course that was a long time ago but yes, it is still in very good working condition. For one thing, things made in those days are a lot more durable and lasting than what one can get from the shops these days. We had a sandwich and waffle maker that my missus got from some direct sales agency, using her bonus points – it was working all right but one fine day, when we turned it on, the electricity in the house went kaput! In the end, we just had to throw it away. Thankfully, it came for free and as they say, easy come, easy go!

Going back to the toaster, I am not fond of using it as if the toast is brown enough, the whole slice of bread will be crusty, inside out. Other than that, I am not all that crazy about going through the trouble of taking it out of the cabinet and after using it, when it has cooled, I would need to clean it before putting it back.

I guess it will be the same if I use my oven…

Oven

I got this free using my credit card points and yes, it has its uses, small and convenient so we will not use the big one that is part of our gas stove unless absolutely necessary. I’ve never tried using it to toast bread…

To toast bread

…though so I am not sure how it will turn out.

In the old days in the coffee shops, they would place the bread on the charcoal grill…

Charcoal grill

…to toast it. I had seen them scraping the black surfaces once it was done and they would generously apply their own-made kaya (coconut jam) and place a slice or two of butter on top and serve. Of course, that was so very nice unlike what we will get today. Firstly, nowadays, they will use an electric toaster or an oven toaster and then they will serve it with canned kaya and margarine.

As a matter of fact, they actually had one charcoal grill at a hotel in Kuching for guests to use to toast their bread if they were thus inclined…

Charcoal grill at Grand Margherita Kuching

…and yes, I did toast my bread on it when I was staying there once.

There is one very popular place in Sarikei where people will go for the toast. I think they give butter, not margarine so that is a bonus and other than the kaya, it looks like they add peanut butter as well but I have never been there so I have no idea how they toast the buns. I have also heard a lot of this place in Kuching that is famous for its toast – Rowena goes there sometimes, it seems…but I have never been there either so I do not know how they go about making theirs.

So how do I go about mine? I like to toast the bread on a non-stick pan…

Non-stick pan

…till it is nice and brown on the outside…

Brown on the outside

…but still soft like fresh bread inside.

Once done, I would apply a thick layer of kaya – I like the made-in-Singapore Glory Brand, just like homemade…and slices of butter…

With kaya and butter

That sure beats any loti kiap (sandwich toast) or roti bakar that we can get at the shops here…or if there is any that is better around town, I sure do not know of it.

Lying around…

I guess everybody knows that I can’t stand seeing things lying around and will get them out of the way at the earliest opportunity.

Well, sometime ago, my missus bought 3 packets of these Korean noodles…

Koreno instant noodles

…(probably it was on special offer, about to expire) or at least, that was what I thought at the time.

All the shops and supermarkets are flooded with these but upon closer scrutiny, it turned out to be a Vietnamese product…

Made In Vietnam

…manufactured using Korean technology…

Korean technology

…but don’t ask me what that is – I don’t know!

I had instant noodles made in Korea once a long long time ago. A student of mine – I had not retired yet then – told me that it was very nice and I simply must buy to try. Well, that was what I did – I remember it was around RM2.00 a packet and I assumed it was made in Korea. There was nothing I could decipher on the packet as everything was in some glyphs that I could not make head or tail of. It was very nice and yes, as what my student specifically pointed out, I could boil the noodles for as long as I liked and it will not be overcooked and turn soft and soggy. It tasted great too but at that price, I never bothered going back for more.

My missus ate one of the three that she bought and never touched the remaining two. Maybe it did not tickle her fancy so she just stopped at one. One of them was kim chi flavoured, thank you very much so I went for the spicy beef flavour, not that I had any choice. I was wondering why Vietnam would produce these pseudo-authentic Korean noodles when the country is world famous for their phở. I sure would prefer that to any Korean noodles with the exception of their mee sua in ginseng chicken soup and their traditional wine – I had that when I was there many years ago and it was so good on the freezing cold winter days.

I boiled the noodles separately…

Boil noodles separately

that is what people are saying we should do when cooking instant noodles. Then I boiled some more water and added the contents of the two sachets…

Two sachets

…into it, one containing the seasoning, the other some dried spring onions and carrot and whatever else and I also added some own-made fish balls for added sweetness and taste.

Once ready, I poured the soup into the bowl…

Koreno spicy beef noodles 1

…along with the fish balls and garnishing and I also added some fresh spring onions, finely-chopped and daun sup (Chinese celery/parsley) from my garden and to go with it, I had my not-so-successful miserable-looking poached egg…

Koreno spicy beef noodles 2

It was not really spicy nor could I detect any taste of beef in the soup but on the whole, I thought it was all right, not too bad and I particularly liked how there was no salt and msg-overload unlike many of the other brands, local and otherwise, so much so that everytime I would just use half the packet of seasoning and throw away the rest.

So that got rid of one of two and now, there is only one left. Ah well! We’ll just have to wait and see what happens to it eventually.

I forgot…

That day when I was blogging about the gluten-free stuff available here, I forgot that my girl did buy a box of this…

YESYOUCAN gluten-free pizza mix

…when she was in KL sometime ago and she did use it successfully to make not one but two pizzas

YESYOUCAN gluten-free pizza

…which we did enjoy very much.

Anyway, this time around, when she saw that it was available here now, she grabbed two boxes…

YESYOUCAN gluten-free pizza mix, two boxes

…right away and last weekend, she used one of them to make a pizza…

Gluten-free pizza

She only made one this time around so the crust wasn’t exactly thin…

Not exactly thin

…but all the same, it was very nice with the toppings – bacon, spinach, lots of cheese, white cream and even an egg…

Toppings

She was of the opinion that the texture of the crust was similar to that of focaccia bread and since she enjoys that kind of stuff, I said that she could just make the bread next time to enjoy creating her own sandwiches with it and she said she would do that…soon.

This is for you…

My ex-student, Tham, shared on Facebook a photo of the serunding (meat floss, chicken)…

Serunding, chicken

…that he made and I pulled his leg saying, “You still know where my house is, right?” He did drop by once to give me the very nice butter cake from Mita Cake House in Kuching. The next thing I knew he was at my door, sending some of the very nice fruit of his labour for me to enjoy.

His better half, Daisy, also my ex-student, came with him and they had their baby boy with them too. They tied the knot in 2015 and I was at their wedding reception…and now, they have a two-month-old son already, may God bless them all abundantly in all that lie ahead.

They also brought me these…

Oregano 1

…from Daisy’s mum, a very nice lady, also a retired teacher like me. Those are a variety of oregano, so I was told…and this one with the white edges…

Oregano 2

…would be another variety, sweet majoram, I think this is called along with a whole lot of other names, and this one…

Oregano 3

…is probably the same as the latter though I’m not too sure. Daisy did rattle through all the related information but there was a bit too much for this somewhat slow and old brain to register. Hehehehehe!!! According to her, they are very easy to plant – just stick in the soil and that was exactly what I did. For one thing, like all those other herbs, these have a lot of health benefits as well.

She also gave me some mint…

Mint

…which I had before and it grew really well like this pot of daun pegaga (the gotu kola or the Asian pennywort)…

Daun pegaga

…of mine but it gradually withered away and eventually, it was gone. I hope I will be able to do a lot better with this one.

Talking about my daun pegaga, it sure looks really nice, so nice that I decided to move it to the front of the house beside the driveway. It also has a lot of health benefits and is a very common condiment for our ulam though for no obvious reason (other than the fact that we are too lazy to pound the sambal belacan), we hardly ever harvest any to eat.

This is another variety of daun pegaga, the one with a dot in the middle…

Water pennywort or dollar weed

the water pennywort, it is called and it grows rampantly wild in the drains around my house compound and ever so often, I would have to go on my hands and knees to pull them all out and get rid of them. One shop here planted them in pots and was marketing them as “money plants” – they look like coins, they said (and some people call it the dollar weed)! Well, I decided to do the same just for the fun of it in the hope that it will flourish and look as nice as the aforementioned daun pegaga.

Oh yes! Before I forget, thank you so much, Tham & Daisy and your mother-in-law/mum for the serunding and the herbs. Wish me luck with the latter! LOL!!!

ABC…

The other day, we had the ABC soup

Old Street Cafe's ABC soup

…here and we loved it so much!

Like what I said then, I had seen photos of it shared by blogger-mums and others but frankly, from the look of it, I did not think it was anything to get excited about. Of course, I did not know why it is thus called – I only knew of the other ABC, the air batu campur…and there came a whole lot of people telling me all about it. It seems that it is popularly known in Cantonese as lo song tong (羅宋湯), available in the menus at those Hong Kong franchise places over in the peninsula but nobody could explain the name.

One said that possibly, it was because one could add anything from A to Z and another said it was so easy to cook, as easy as ABC like this blogger here who also says it is the Chinese borscht soup. I went to look at some recipes and I saw one using beef and the person concerned grilled the slices of meat in butter first to brown it nicely before use. That reminded me of my late aunt’s soup – we used to enjoy hers very much and yes, I did try cooking it myself once a long time ago. It was very nice though it was not quite the same – you can click the link here to go and have a look at how I/she did it.

Maybe it is a Cantonese thing and Sibu being predominantly Foochow, we do not have it here…or not that I know of, at least. Well, seeing how it was so very nice, I decided to cook my own and I got these ingredients ready…

ABC soup, ingredients

– potatoes, tomatoes, carrot and Bombay onions. Other than those, I also crushed around a teaspoon of black pepper to add to the soup…

ABC soup, crushed pepper

I did not intend for it to be a meat soup so I just used the sides of the chicken parts that I bought, saving the drumsticks and thighs for something else on some other day. I only wanted to use it to make the stock and firstly, I grilled the pieces a bit in a non-stick pan, greased with butter…

Grill the chicken in butter

…and after that, I put them in a pot, filled it with water and turned on the heat. It started boiling soon enough but I just let it go on simmering. One recipe said that I would have to remove the “impurities” using a ladle but there wasn’t much of those flotsam and jetsam but still I did get rid of whatever little there was using a strainer.

After some time, I added everything…

All in

…and brought it back to boil and I let it go on simmering for quite a while before adding some salt according to taste.

Come lunchtime, I served the soup…

My ABC soup 1

…with a sprinkling of chopped spring onion from my garden.

It was very nice…

My ABC soup 2

…but not as nice as what we had at the shop. Maybe it was because we did not add any msg nor did I use any chicken stock or perhaps I would need to simmer it a lot longer. Never mind! We certainly did enjoy it so needless to say, I wouldn’t mind cooking it again sometime but perhaps, I could add more to it, say, some celery perhaps for the added taste and fragrance and I must remember to buy some daun sup (Chinese celery/parsley) the next time I cook this.