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.

Something great…

The oregano that I got from my friend/ex-students’ mum/mum-in-law grew really well and was so very productive so I shared a photo on Facebook and asked if anybody would be interested. A friend said that she did not mind some so I repotted a few and sent them over to her house along with a little pot of dill – my dill is flourishing too. She had not got home from work so I passed them to her hubby.

A few days later, when we were in church that night, she passed me this…

Kelulut honey

the kelulut honey from those stingless bees that was the craze at one time – a lot of people were rearing them. It seems that she is keeping those bees as well so she has her own supply of the coveted stuff that is claimed to be even better than the celebrated New Zealand’s manuka honey which does not come cheap…and neither is this kelulut honey – somebody in Singapore said that he bought a 500 ml bottle for SGD50.00! I guess that is why there are people producing it commercially and marketing it now.

I did try a bit – it has its own taste that is not quite like our regular honey and yes, I did like it very much…and I saw in some websites that it has a lot of health benefits, thank you so much to my friend for that big bottle of the coveted stuff – I am sure that would cost a bundle.

In the meantime, one of the seedlings that my neighbour gave me had flowered…

Butterfly pea flower, 1st to bloom 1

the butterfly pea flower (the clitoria ternatea) and of course, that got me real excited and happy…

Butterfly pea flower 1st to bloom 2

It appeared that mine is a single-petal variety and there is also the double-petal one but they say they are the same as far as the health benefits go.

No, I did not pluck it…

Butterfly pea flower 1st to bloom 3

…to make tea right away. I guess I can wait till the plants have grown really big and are flowering in abundance. I noticed that the flower would have withered by the next day but to my delight, another one…

Butterfly pea flower 2nd to bloom

…bloomed.

At the time of writing, another one of the seedlings has flowered as well, just one – the third bloom so far. Fingers crossed, I will be seeing more and more over the next few days…and I can start brewing the tea to drink, great stuff – this flower and also the honey!

Eyes wide open…

I saw on their Facebook page that their new stock had arrived so I quickly made a beeline to the place to grab a couple of bottles of the fresh milk with kurma that my girl enjoys a lot and a couple of this…

Farm Fresh cafe latte

…for me to try.

When I blogged about it the other day, somebody mentioned that she liked the cafe latte very much except that it was too expensive. I did mention in that earlier post how my heart skipped a beat when the cashier keyed in the price for the one with kurma, over RM9.00, I think it was, and the price appeared on the monitor.  Well, if I had not been forewarned, I would probably have had a heart attack in the case of this one – it was priced at over RM11.00 a bottle!!! The yogurt were all over RM6.00…and despite the prices, when I got there that night, there were a whole lot of people and no price for guessing what they were all buying, like they were giving them away for free!

There is enough in one bottle…

100% genuine fresh milk and real coffee

…for two mugs so it works out to less than RM6.00 each – very much cheaper than what you may have to fork out at those coffee places but of course, there is no froth unless you have a hand-held whisk or you shake the bottle vigorously before pouring out the milk and there is no cute artwork for your amusement and admiration.

I had these digestive biscuits…

Gullong digestives

…in the house, bought from that same supermarket – Gullón brand – made in Spain which do not come anywhere near the original that I used to enjoy a lot but these came in value packs of two (tubes) for over RM7-8 and they are sugar free. They did not go too well with black coffee but I thought they were really nice dunked in fresh milk so I tried them with this kopi susu (coffee with milk)…

Cafe latte with digestives

…and yes, they did go quite well together.

This tagline on the bottle…

Eyes wide open

…caught my attention. Yes, it was very rich with the fresh milk and very strong on the coffee fragrance and taste, double expresso, it says there…but unfortunately, it did not manage to keep me awake. I had it for morning tea, around 10 a.m. and after lunch that day, I was no longer able to keep my eyes wide open and had to have my afternoon nap.

I guess it’s purely psychological but we seldom had milk in our younger days, only when we were sick and all we had was tinned condensed milk (Milkmaid) and later, I read somewhere that hot milk and honey would be a sure cure for insomnia so I would have that on nights when I found it difficult to sleep and that did seem to work. Perhaps that is the reason why without fail, at any time of day, milk makes me sleepy…

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!!!

$ave dat money…

It’s that time of the year again! The Mooncake Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Lantern Festival in this part of the world, falls on Monday, the 24th of September this year and yes, the mooncakes have made their appearance at the local shops and supermarkets.

Recently, I saw some very nice-looking ones from China, selling for less than RM10.00 each, even cheaper than our pretty good made-in-Sibu ones. Even the packaging looked impressive. I guess it can’t possibly get any more authentic than those but no, I did not buy any. These days, I am kind of wary when it comes to anything imported from there.

I have not been buying any for some years now with the exception of those “branded” ones that I would buy – one box each – for my parents and also my mother-in-law to enjoy, never mind the price but now that they had passed away, I would not need to do that anymore.

Over the years, I have had some very nice ones sent to me by my kind and generous friends in the peninsula to enjoy and for one thing, I always loved the packaging and I would keep them to this day. This one from The Baker’s Cottage…

From The Baker's Cottage

…for instance, comes in handy every year, come Chinese New Year, for keeping my stack of ang paos (red packets containing gift money) but not this year as I was not celebrating nor next year too. I saw those from the aforementioned bakery being sold at a bakery here the other day but even the cheapest was over RM20.00 EACH so of course, I just walked away…quietly. LOL!!!

Well, the other day, I happened to see these made-in-Johore ones, Yong Sheng…

Yong Sheng mooncakes - coin box

…at a supermarket here and you can get the coin-box if you buy two of them and being a sucker for these freebies, I grabbed one and took it home. Sigh!!!

I probably would not have done that if they had cost a bomb but these lotus paste ones were only RM15.50 each…

Yong Sheng mooncakes

…and RM16.00 for the lotus paste, white but RM22.00, no sugar. Usually, people would say sugar free or low sugar and I’ve always wondered why it is so much more expensive when there is one ingredient less. Perhaps they use those artificial sweeteners that are a lot more expensive, I wouldn’t know.

Incidentally, I just came to know about the significance of those little white rabbits on the packaging when I read about the Moon Rabbit in my blogger-friend’s post the other day. It seems that it symbolises loyalty and thanksgiving. Gee! I guess one is never too old to learn and one certainly gets to learn new things every day.

The ones that I bought…

Yong Sheng mooncake

…were good, smooth…and fine…

Yong Sheng mooncake, cross-section

…and the skin was not too thick (I do love the skin, actually!) though for me, they were a tad too sweet so I could only nibble, nibble, a wedge at a time…

Yong Sheng mooncake, wedge

…but what the heck, it comes only once a year and even though, these are not as shockingly astronomically priced, I sure would not be rushing out to buy some more – maybe next year.

The coin box sure comes in handy for if I would drop in all my coins every day…

Sikit sikit jadi bukit

…by this time next year, I would have quite a lot to buy more mooncakes to enjoy and most likely, I would be able to afford those more expensive ones even, I think!

Big mouth strikes again…

I had the focaccia sandwich here

Caffeine Cafe focaccia sandwich

…the other day and it was quite big, bigger than the size of a slice from a regular loaf of sandwich bread and that brought to mind the question that my friend, Merryn, asked on Facebook regarding eating the roti canai, celup or banjir.

I did describe how I would eat a piece of roti canai that day and I have often wondered how people would eat those huge towering burgers – if they were to eat those like a burger, they would need to have a really big mouth and on the other hand, if they were to take it apart to eat, then it would no longer be a burger anymore as they would be eating everything individually, not as a whole.

That day, my girl said that she would just take it by hand and eat it like a sandwich but no, that was not how I ate it. Let me show you what I did.

Firstly, I cut it into slices across its width like this…

Slice

…and then, I cut the slice into halves…

Halves

I guess you would have to cut it smaller, those of you with dainty, not very big mouths.

Once done, I added a bit of the lovely scrambled egg onto the morsel…

Add egg

…and poked through it with my fork…

Poke with fork

…and in it went, into my mouth.

I do have style, very eyew siew (gentle/elegant), very classy, don’t you think? LOL!!!

CAFFEINE CAFE is located on the ground floor of Wisma Liberty, Block 3, Lorong Pedada 7, off Jalan Pedada – on your left, past the Jalan Ulu Oya Road traffic lights if you are coming from town, just a few doors away from Nica Gelateria (2.302620, 111.842988), to the left at the end of that same block.