Mary’s Day…

It was Mary’s birthday last Sunday and she asked us to drop by her place

Flavours Thai Kitchen decor, outside

…for lunch.

We stopped by a florist’s shop on the way and I got her this little bouquet of roses…

Roses

…and I also gave her a pot of ulam raja seedlings…

Ulam raja

…from my garden (she asked me not too long ago if they were easy to plant) – nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just a simple gesture for the occasion but of course, it came straight from the heart. As they say, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Of course, we were glad to be a part of the celebration of her special day and arrived some ten or fifteen minutes before noon but when we saw the setting…

Flavours Thai Kitchen table setting

…I was wishing I had put on something less casual and more presentable but never mind!

Flowers and snacks

The company was great…

Mary & friends

…and I had a jolly good time chatting with Mary and her other guests and needless to say, I enjoyed the scrumptious dishes prepared by her authentic Thai chefs, Jos & Su.

True to the Foochow/Chinese tradition, there were these golden eggs…

Eggs

…served with some thick syrup that I guessed had honey in it and I loved the bihun

Hinghua bihun

…very much.

We also had the Thai pineapple rice…

Pineapple rice

…and this plate of fish fillet with fresh black pepper sauce…

Fish fillet with black pepper sauce

…and everyone was singing praises of the lime beef…

Lime beef

…that my girl and I had had the pleasure of trying once before.

I did not manage to snap a photograph of the vegetable dish – there were cauliflower and broccoli in it nor one of the platter of fruits that was served at the end.

Thank you so much for inviting us, Mary – that was so very sweet of you and a very Happy Birthday to you once again. All the best in the year ahead and may all your dreams come true. May God bless you and all your loved ones always, cheers!

FLAVOURS THAI KITCHEN is located on the ground floor of the ORCHID HOTEL, along Brooke Drive at its junction with Jalan Tunku Osman. You can use its main entrance at the back of the hotel building (facing Brooke Drive) or go through the lobby past the reception desk if you are using its hotel entrance.

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For her…

Some of you may recall that I had the beef spaghetti

Payung Cafe beef spaghetti
*Archive photo*

…here around a week ago and my girl wanted so much to enjoy it as well but she could not as the pasta was not gluten-free.

I wanted to buy the very special bolognese sauce for her to eat with the gluten-free spaghetti…

Gluten-free from Australia
*Archive photo*

…that my cousin brought all the way from Australia for her not too long ago but Peter, the boss, did not seem all that willing to part with his existing stock and promised to cook it specially for her, extra fresh straight from the wok and he assured me that he would see to it that it would be extra nice too.

I am not a fan of the regular bolognese sauce – somehow, I would feel like eating tomato ketchup straight from the bottle and I can eat just about so much of the very cloyingly rich and creamy carbonara sauce – just a few spoonful and I would feel jelak already. I would much sooner go for aglio olio instead.

However, Peter’s special bolognese pasta sauce is nothing like the usual. There is tomato in it too but he uses fresh ones, one kilo of it with one kilo of beef, pureed and I don’t know what else goes into the cooking, probably Bombay onions, blended finely and some herbs as well. I hear there is kiwi fruit in it even and all in all, I would say that it tastes really good.

Well, true to his word, he and one of his boys, Andy, came knocking on my door on Friday last week and they passed me this…

Special Payung bolognese sauce

He had timed it in such a way so that my girl could enjoy it to her heart’s content when she came home for the weekend but unfortunately, it was our usual no-meat Friday so we had to wait until lunch the following day, Saturday.

This was what my girl had…

With gluten-free spaghetti

…with her gluten-free spaghetti and she loved it to the max!

She was getting kinda sick and tired of some of the (expensive) gluten-free stuff that she bought to eat, the biscuits or cookies and what not – they all tasted so different, the texture and taste were all not quite the same as the regular ones but she was delighted that the spaghetti was like…spaghetti.

Peter cooked her two packs of the most delightful sauce and we finished off one and she said that she would bring the other one with her back to her school in the jungle to eat with pasta or rice or maybe as a dip for some chips that she bought from a supermarket here.

I did not want to eat up her supply of the gluten-free pasta so I went and bought some angel hair and this was what I had…

With angel hair pasta

…and yes, I enjoyed it a lot too!

Thank you so much, Peter – you certainly made my girl very happy!

PAYUNG  CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

She loves me…

My girl would get a lift from a colleague every Friday after school and head back to town. The latter would drop her off at some place convenient and the mum would go and get her…and the two ladies would go for a very very late lunch, around 3.00 p.m. and then, they would go shopping at the shops and supermarkets for fresh supplies and rations for the week ahead.

Usually, they would stop by the one that brings in all the imported stuff and my girl would come home with some of the biscuits and cookies for me to enjoy like these…

Hazelnut biscuits

…for instance, made in the Netherlands…

Made in the Netherlands

That day, she also bought me these…

Amsterdam butter cookies 1

…a product of Amsterdam…

Product of Holland

Yes, they were nice…

Amsterdam butter cookies

…but no, I did not think they would come anywhere near the celebrated Danish ones. Our local Tiger Brand cookies would be just as nice or perhaps even nicer…and even though they may not be all that cheap anymore, at least, they would be a little cheaper.

I keep telling her not to buy any for me and if she must, just get those Malaysian-made ones that are more affordable and I would enjoy some of those just as much but she insists that she derives much pleasure from getting them for me to eat.

Of course, if she goes and buy these…

Butterfingers pure butter shortbread

…pure butter shortbread, made in Australia…

Australian made and owned

…like what she did when she was home over the weekend, I shall not protest as they are indeed very nice (in my opinion, much nicer than those even more expensive Scottish ones) and worth indulging in but of course, considering the price, one would need to limit it to once in a long while, not every week.

Whatever it is, as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts!” Never mind whether it is nice or not, cheap or expensive, her thoughtfulness and her gesture of love and affection are what would matter the most and should indeed be very much appreciated. Well, that’s my girl for you!

My father…

My father passed away on Wednesday, 12th July at 1.50 p.m…

Flowers 1

…and was laid to rest at the Nirvana Memorial Park here yesterday morning, the 14th of July…

Flowers 2

…after the funeral mass at St Mary’s of Divine Mercy here…

Flowers 3

– one of his final wishes, that is to have the service at the church where he would go for masses and services with my mum on Sundays and other days when both of them were fit and well.

Regular readers of my blog would probably be able to recall those occasions when we would take him some place to eat and he sure enjoyed those outings and as a matter of fact, when my girl was home for the mid-year school holidays, he wanted to ask her out for another round of the same the following day but that morning, when we dropped by the house, he said to her that he was sorry he could not make it as he was not physically up to it…

Flowers 4

…and since then, over these two months, he had not been well…and I did hint in my previous posts that I was “caught up with things at home” so I did not have the time for much else at that point in time…and last week, he came down with a fever on Thursday and on Friday, it got worse…and eventually, he was admitted into the Sibu General Hospital but things did not look too good so we were prepared for the worst, be it sooner or later.

My brother from New Zealand made it home in time on Tuesday and though it was not easy, we took our bed-ridden mum to the hospital to see him that same evening before he was called to our Lord in Heaven the following afternoon…

Flowers 5

…and I was thankful I was right there by his side at the hospital when he breathed his last. The grandchildren from Auckland were still in transit at KL then – they did not make it in time to see him one last time.

Born in the Year of the Ox on the 28th day of the 4th month, he always celebrated his birthdays every year following the Chinese lunar calendar. He was 93 at the time of his passing.

Eternal rest grant unto my father, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace…

Bag full…

This bag…

Chiller bag 1

…came all the way from Australia from one of the supermarket chains…

Coles 1

…there. My cousin who is residing there in Melbourne gave that to us on one of her trips back to Sibu a long time ago, filled with all the goodies inside to give to us.

It has been really handy all this while – we use it to pack all the foodstuff from the fridge or the freezer to bring to my girl’s school in the jungle even though it is just a 1 1⁄2 or 2-hour drive away. However, just the other day, one of the handles broke but that did not stop me, not at all. I stapled it back and sewed it down with needle and thread and it was as good as new and we could go on using it.

Well, the other day, I got this pretty one…

Chiller bag 2

…also from that same supermarket chain…

Coles 2

My aforementioned cousin was back in town on a flying visit to settle some business here and she brought that this time around and as always, it was filled with all kinds of things for us.

There was this shirt – 4XL…

Shirt & soap

…so that should fit me very nicely and the very special and fragrant soap. Hmmm…Mr Big indeed! I bet that brand made her think of me when she was out shopping. Hehehehehe!!!! Wait a minute!!! That sure looks like me…

Mr Big tag

…in the photograph in the tag, right down to the double/triple chin. LOL!!!

There were also all these gluten-free stuff…

Gluten-free

…for my girl and needless to say, she was thrilled to receive all those. We have that Australian Butterfingers pure butter shortbread at a supermarket here but not the gluten-free ones and she tried it for breakfast the very next morning and loved it to bits!

I did not try it myself as I can always enjoy these Scottish ones…

For me

…that were in the bag as well, along with the brand new line of Tim Tam…

Tim Tam

I’ve tried it already and yes, it was very nice, whatever that gelato messina may be. I so loved the caramel and vanilla in it but yes, it was very sweet so I just had one and nibbled little by little and will go for another one another day. Incidentally, that’s REAL milk in the toothpaste tube, not the palm oil sweetened creamer that they are selling at the shops and supermarkets here.

Going back to the bag, no, I would keep this precious brand new one and still go on using the old one till it is beyond redemption and cannot be used anymore.

Thank you so so so much to my thoughtful and most generous cousin for all the above and for carting the whole lot all the way from the Land Down Under.

Not too late…

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslim members of my family, friends and readers…

Hari Raya greeting

Of course, by now, all the Ramadan bazaars everywhere would have come to a close and one would have to wait till next year, perhaps, to enjoy all the culinary delights that one would not be able to get normally unless one cooks one’s own, like this delightful charcoal-grilled lamb…

Charcoal-grilled lamb 1

…here…

Grill lamb leg slice

…for instance.

When my girl was home the previous weekend, my missus bought some for her to take to her school in the jungle to eat. She had it on Monday night and enjoyed it so very much, especially with its very nice mushroom and black pepper gravy…and could not wait to tell us about it.

Knowing that it would be too late by the time she would be home again (Thursday) as most of the stalls would have called it a day, I went the very next day, Tuesday, to buy some and keep for her to enjoy at a later date.

When I got there, the guy…

Adi Lamb
*That friend of his had just knocked off work and happened to drop by – I remembered him as the guy at his cousin’s or somebody’s burger stall, no longer in business for a long long time now.*

…had just started for the afternoon and was still getting his fire going though I did see some of the meat, raw, on the grill already…

Meat on the grill

…He told me I would have to wait for at least an hour and I found out that it was his last day at the bazaar, no more the following day. So, I told him I would like three of those slabs of lamb…

Menu

…and I would come back later to collect them.

When I got back around an hour later, they were done…

Meat on the grill, done

…so I was able to go home happily with my loot!

I did cut a bit…

Charcoal-grilled lamb 2

…to try myself and yes, it was indeed, really very nice.

I sure would not mind going back for more sometimes but unfortunately, the guy, Adi Lamb, he told me his name was, said he is not in this business, full time but if anyone is interested, they can contact him and place an order for say, a kilo or two or more, and he would even do home deliveries. I do not foresee hosting any home parties/dinners in the near future and I would probably not be ordering till say, Christmas or New Year or Chinese New Year next year. However, if anyone is interested, he or she can post a comment with a genuine e-mail address and I can forward to him or her Adi‘s handphone contact…or if we’re Facebook friends, you can always PM me and get the number from me there.

What I said…

My ex-student, Thaddaeus, now an RMAF Captain based in Kuantan, Pahang, tied the knot with his lovely bride, Grace…

Thaddaeus & Grace

…at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here in Sibu…

Wedding mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Sibu

…last Saturday and I was in the list of their invited guests.

I did not have many non-Chinese students in my school which was predominantly-Chinese and Thaddaeus was among the sprinkling that I had in my last Form 5 class the year I was about to retire.

What I will always remember was this incident when he came to class with an injured finger and I just asked in passing what happened. I cannot recall now whether it was a fracture or a sprain but I did give him some advice as to what he could do. It did not seem like anything much but somehow, what I said in that little show of concern touched him and left a lasting impression.

Sometime later, in one of his essays, he wrote about it and expressed his appreciation and gratitude for his teacher’s gesture, one that I did not think was of much significance. I guess it is true that we need to be aware of everything we say, no matter how trivial we may think it is, as some may take it to heart and it is a knife that cuts both ways.

Anyway, back to the wedding, in fact, I was not free that day but I made an effort to show up at the cathedral just to say congratulations to him and his wife-to-be, at that point in time, and I did stay till to witness them taking their marriage vows and the exchange of their wedding rings…

Exchange of wedding rings

…as the priest pronounced them man and wife and after the offering…

Offering

…I took my leave quietly.

There was a lunch reception at the house in the afternoon – I have no idea what went on there so I do not know if they had their traditional Iban wedding ceremony or not. I sure would love to go and watch – come to think of it, I have never witnessed one before!

Once again, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Thaddaeus & Grace, thank you so much for the invitation, and may your life together be abundantly blessed with love and happiness each passing day in the years ahead…and talking about Iban traditions, it is the Gawai Dayak Festival…

…today, the first of June…

Selamat Ari Gawai 1

…so it is a public holiday here and tomorrow as well…

Selamat Ari Gawai

I would like, therefore, to take this opportunity to wish all my relatives and friends and all my blog followers celebrating this auspicious festival, Selamat ‘Ari Gawai!