Time is tight…

If you remember from this earlier post, my cousin in Brisbane, Australia sent me this pack of sausages, among a whole lot of other things…

Sausages from Oz

…and it is due to expire soon – 31st March, 2015. I guess kept in the freezer, it is all right to stretch it a bit but as far as possible, I would like to finish them off as soon as possible.

I did cook some for everybody for breakfast

Breakfast 1

…and I had some with my plate of instant mi goreng one morning.

Variety is the spice of life so of course, I would not be serving them the same way till they are all gone. There I was, cracking my head as to how I could serve the sausages…and one morning, I cooked this box of pasta…

Pasta

…that I bought quite a while ago and it had been sitting in the pantry, expiring in May.

This was the breakfast platter I whipped up for my girl that morning…

Breakfast 2

…and she enjoyed it to the max.

I remember when she was small, I made what I called a “chicken in a blanket“. Basically, that was just chicken sausages wrapped in slices of bread and toasted in the oven. It certainly did the trick! She was amused by the name and enjoyed eating it. Unfortunately, while I was taking the pan out of the oven, my hand brushed the grill at the top and I suffered a severe burn, 2nd or 3rd degree, and that took months and months to heal and years before the scar became no longer visible. Sigh!!! The things parents go through for their kids. I did not know then that in fact, there are such things and different ways of making one’s own whatever in a blanket.

Since I had a lot of sausages at hand, I decided that I would use some for my own version of the so-called “piggies in a blanket“. It wasn’t anything fancy – just half a sausage on a bed of very thin tomato slices with a little bit of cheese to hold down the edges once it melted…

Piggy in a blanket

…and a toothpick stuck through it temporarily. I brushed it with a little bit of egg and put that in the oven.

Well, there were some egg and tomato left so I just fried an omelette with those…

Tomato omelette

…and had it with the piggies…

Piggies

So, was it any good? Not really, I would say – nothing spectacular. I guess one can’t expect much – after all, basically, it was something like sausage and cheese with tomato on toast. For one thing, the sausage was salty and the added cheese made it worse…but it wasn’t too bad when eaten together with the lettuce and omelette.

At the time of writing, I only have five of the sausages left. Time is running out but I shouldn’t have any problem finishing them off soon…in one of the above ways for breakfast over the next few days.

Don’t ask…

Don’t ask how much these cost…

Meat pie 1

…if your heart is not strong enough to take it.

I’ve blogged about their sausages…

Sausages

here…and yes, they were very nice indeed. Those were over RM27.00 for 8 at the time but I did mention then that prices might range from over RM30 to RM40, depending on the type/flavour.

Well, my girl and I went loitering around one of the hypermarts in town the other day. Big mistake! In Hokkien, the old folks always say, “Bak chiew ching phai!” (Eyes are very bad) as we tend to be tempted to buy what we see. The best thing, of course, is to just stay at home so we do not see and we will not end up buying anything.

Anyway, my girl spotted them first and I asked if she would like to try them and since that was what she wanted, of course, I bought them for her…without checking the price. As soon as we got home, she said she wanted it for dinner so we popped one into the oven…

Meat pie 2

…and let it bake for an hour. Wowwwwww!!!! The fragrance filled the whole house! It was so very nice…and even before eating it, we could tell that it was going to be really very good.

Finally, it was done…

Meat pie 3

…and when my girl cut into it…

Meat pie 4

…we found that it was all meat in the filling and there was so much of it too! We were kind of wishing they had chunks of meat inside instead of just minced and perhaps, they could have mushrooms too. Nonetheless, it was really very good, as good as the awesome smell we had to endure while it was baking. I don’t know if they have other varieties but we saw two others here – the chicken with mushroom and leek and the black pepper.

Ok, brace yourselves for a shock! I asked my girl if she took note of the price and she said it was…over RM30!!! *faints* That means that one pie like that is over RM15.00. Ok, it was really very nice, nicer than some of the stuff they dish out at some western joints here that may cost a lot more even…and besides, I would think it is perfectly all right to indulge in something like this once in a very long while. After all, we do deserve to pamper ourselves with some really very special treats sometimes, don’t we?

No, I did not help myself to the other one. Since she liked it so much and it truly was very nice, I just let her keep it for another day when she would feel like having it again. I remember when I was young, everytime we had chicken, my brother and I would get a drumstick each and my father would have the wings and then we would go on to the thigh…while my mum had the neck and the parson’s nose (butt) and most of the breast meat. At the time, I thought she actually loved those parts, silly me, so young and innocent…but thinking about it now, it is pretty obvious that it was all because she wanted us to have the best and it gave her such joy to see us eating and enjoying what she had cooked for us – that, I must say, is a true reflection of a parent’s sincere love and sacrifice for the family…and now, it is my turn to do the same.

Incidentally, at this juncture, I would just like to add this little bit to say thank you so very much to my cousin, Yvette, from Perth in Australia for the bag of goodies…

From cousin Yvette

…that she gave to me when she came to town. It sure was lovely to see you again…and nice meeting your hubs and sister-in-law too. All the best & God bless till the next time we see one another again. Cheers, all!

Meet me there…

I had breakfast already that morning when I received word from Annie inviting me to meet her and her family here but I went anyway. I reckoned I could just sit around to chat and catch up since I had not seen them for quite a while now.

Annie had this…

Opps hung ngang

…but she opted for hung ngang (big bihun) instead of the regular mee sua (thread/string noodles). She did let me try a bit and I thought it was all right but could do with a little bit more ginger and ang chiew (red wine). Talking about the wine, they certainly had a lot in this liver soup…

Opps liver soup

…that Annie also had. Nice, very nice!

The mum was grumbling about the kids getting up so late and said that she was so very hungry already. Ahhhhh!!!! That is something I am very familiar with. Kids these days love to sleep in…and wake up mid-morning or some, even later than that! She had this rice set…

Opps beef rendang rice

…that was supposed to come with beef rendang but no, that wasn’t rendang. It was our Sarawak own daging masak hitam (meat, black-cooked). I tried a bit and I would say it was very nice – they do it quite well here, it seems.

Annie’s brother ordered these ham and egg sandwiches…

Opps ham and egg sandwich

I saw a friend sharing a photograph of these on Facebook and I had been wanting to drop by to try. I love sandwiches! Somehow or other, I never did but that morning, I did have one and yes, it was good. They were definitely nicer than this egg and mayo toast…

Opps egg and mayo toast

…that Annie’s mum ordered but somehow or other, she did not eat any. I had to eat most of that and it was all right – I would prefer it with just egg, minus the mayo.

Annie’s nephew had this…

Opps American breakfast

…and also this…

Opps Pattaya fried rice

…and I really envied him because he was so tall and so thin!!! I wonder where all that food went to – if you look at me, you would know right away where all of mine ends up, right in the middle. Tsk! Tsk!

If I remember correctly, one of Annie’s twins also had the American breakfast set but I can’t recall what the other one had. Maybe like me, he just had a bit of this and that including the toasted kompia with minced meat filling…

Opps kompia

I did not try that but Annie said it was rather salty.

The kids had these floats though…

Coke floatStrawberry float

…and kids being kids, they sure seemed to enjoy those very much.

It certainly was great getting to see everyone again…

In time…

I always make it a point to be punctual or on time and as far as possible, I would make sure that I would not make it just in time, at the very last minute…or maybe, I am a little bit to the other extreme. I would always give myself ample time so much so that when I had to pick my boys for some competition and I told them I would pick them up at 6.00 a.m., they would remark, “Oh dear!!! We would have to be ready by 5 then!” LOL!!! They knew me so well.

Things happen – we’d never know so I do think it would be best to be prepared. Once, I was sending a cousin of mine to the airport to catch a flight…

Flying

…and suddenly, I had a problem with one of my back wheels. The rubber peeled off and all the metal wires and whatever inside came out. I had to call my missus to come in the other car to send my cousin so she would be in time and not miss the flight. In the meantime, I got somebody to come and change and fix the wheel. He said that I had had the wheel for too long and that sometimes would happen.

On another occasion, I was sending my girl to the airport – she was flying back to college. Suddenly, the car refused to budge and I stalled by the roadside. I called an ex-student who was driving a taxi at the time and he came in a jiffy so my girl was able to make it in time. I also called my mechanic and he said that I could drive…very slowly and make my way to his workshop. According to him, there was some blockage and the engine would stop if I exceeded a certain speed so I had to go at  a snail’s pace to get him to fix it.

Of course, there are airlines that would take off earlier…

Boarding

…or later according to their whims and fancies so one would have to make sure there would be “room to swing the cat” whichever way it might be…and some can be quite notorious for delays and cancellations…

Wings

Never mind if there is a delay, I would just wait…and that is why if I am taking connecting flights, I would see that the flights are far apart so that in the case of a delay in the first one, I would not miss the subsequent one.

That was why when I went to New Zealand sometime ago…

Air NZ

…I stopped in Auckland for so many hours just to be sure instead of choosing a flight that would leave much sooner after I had arrived.

Oh yes! There was this time when I went for lunch with my cousins in Kuching and we sat and chatted and forgot about the time completely!!! When we realised  the time, we had to rush to the airport. My cousin said it was all right – she would take a bypass, no jam…and we would be there very quickly but it so happened that that day, they had some road construction works or something and we were held up. I did reach the counter in time – they had started opening the seats to those on waiting list already but since I had a confirmed ticket, they gave my seat back to me. Unfortunately, their baggage check-in had closed already for that flight so I had to carry the luggage with me – thankfully, I did not have a lot. I ran all the way and made it to my seat in the aircraft…

Aircrafts

…just in time. I could hear my heart beating so very fast that I was afraid it would just explode!!! I certainly would not want something like that to happen ever again…especially at my age at this point in time! My heart would not be able to take it, I’m sure.

So if ever we have a date and you appear, don’t ask if I have been waiting long, Chances are I would have been there for at least half an hour already or longer but it is perfectly all right. It is just me…and yes, I am very patient. I don’t mind waiting, not in the least…and I am not all that fond of people waiting for me.

Well, my sister-in-law was not in time when she sent these lovely prawn fritters…

From SIL

…over to my house early the other morning. She had got up to cook them before going to work and she dropped them off at my house on the way but I had already had breakfast…

My breakfast

…feasting on the sausages that I got from my cousin in Australia. I would say she was on time as far as the ladies in the house were concerned though and they were able to enjoy the fritters when they got up…and I did get to enjoy them myself as well later in the day for tea. Hehehehe!!!!

In some small way…

Last Sunday, after the church service in the morning, we stopped by here

Kong Ma Ma

…for brunch, the very popular, often very crowded coffee shop to your right as you go into the Delta Housing Estate here at the extreme end of that sole block of shophouses, a stone’s throw away from the public swimming pool.

My girl had the fried pek koi (white rice cakes)…

Kong Ma Ma fried pek koi

…as she had it once before and she liked how they do it here compared to that other place that we went to not too long ago but this time around, she was disappointed as they did not add a bit of those tiny clams in soy sauce that would make a world of difference in the taste. Still, she said it was good but when I tried a bit, I thought it could do with a little bit less msg.

The mum had the zhao chai hung ngang but it was all soup and whatever was inside was not visible so I did not bother to take a photograph of it. Well, she did say that it was not all that great, just all right but they were mighty generous with the zhao chai (preserved vegetables).

I had the beef noodles (RM5.00)…

Kong Ma Ma beef noodles 1

…from one of the stalls at that shop and I would say that it was quite good but in comparison, I still prefer the one here as the broth is thicker and richer but that one is a bit more expensive, RM6.00 a bowl and the portion is not exactly big, I must say, while I would say this one…

Kong Ma Ma beef noodles 2

…is good enough and I would not mind having it again especially considering that they gave this bowl…

Kong Ma Ma pickled cabbage

…of very nice pickled cabbage with the noodles – we get that sometimes as an appetiser at wedding banquets or that kind of grand dinners and I did enjoy it very much.

So give or take a little, this may be good in some small ways if we compare it to the other place…and should we drop by here again, I would not mind having the same.

That day…

My friend, Ryan, asked me where he could buy The Kitchen’s instant kampua noodles as he would be going over to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and he wanted to bring them over to give to his relatives there. It so happened that I was going to get 10 packs for my Singapore friend, Alfred who would be coming later this week – he bought two from the market the last time he was here and loved it so much so he would like some more to take back home to enjoy. I told Ryan I would order for him as well and pass them to him at a convenient time. That was why we met early that day at 8.00 a.m. for breakfast here.

He had the kueh chap

Chopsticks kueh chap

…which, if I am not wrong, is among the best in town.

I did not want anything too heavy as I already had something when I got up early that morning so I just had the porridge with telur padi (direct translation: rice egg) or what we know better as pidan (皮蛋 ) or century egg…

Chopsticks century egg porridge

It was nice and Ryan said that his kueh chap was good too.

I passed the noodles to him and mission accomplished, I headed on home and thank you, Ryan, for picking up the tab for breakfast. That was so sweet of  you.

No sooner had I reached the house than I received word from my good friend, Annie, in KL. She was home with her twins to visit her mum and asked me if I could join them for breakfast. Of course I did not go!!! I already had two breakfasts that morning and I jolly well could not manage a third one. In the end, they went on their own and on the way back, they dropped by my house and Annie gave me these…

From Annie

Ooooo…the wine-infused lap cheong (Chinese sausages)!!! I had finished all those that she gave me before…and maybe she got the hints I had dropping all over the place. My prayers were answered! Hehehehehe!!!! Once you’ve tried these, you will never go back to those very hard and dry and not nice ones that they sell in the shops, I tell you.

Annie knows my favourite Marks & Spencer’s All Butter Viennese cookies and she got me not one, not two…but THREE packs! Gee!!! She really spoils me, that lady! And other than those, she also got me a pack of yee mee (中文 ), a special type of noodles that they usually use in claypot or sizzling hot plate mee. My cousin in Bintulu sent me some once and I cooked those with egg sauce, à la wan tan hor style and it was very nice. At this point in time, I have not decided yet how I would cook these – maybe I can try the fried noodles, Kuching style with tomato sauce gravy. We’ll see!

Thanks so much, Annie – you are always so thoughtful and so very generous. It sure was nice to see you and your boys again.

Please don’t…

If ever there is anyone coming over from Kuching or going there for whatever reason and is thinking of getting me this…

Mita Cake 1

…please don’t!

Yes, it IS very nice…and I even find the pictures on the box…

Mita Cake 2

…very cute and attractive.

The cake…

Mita Cake 3

…has that rich buttery fragrance and the texture is just right. So why am I telling everyone not to get it for me? Well, I heard that it was selling for around RM8.00 and now the price has gone up to well over RM10.00!!! People keep complaining about the rising prices of things and blaming it on this and that and yet, ironically, I see many who would be more than willing to fork out their money for stuff that does not come cheap (and even queue for it some more!!!). Personally, if anything gets a little too pricey, I would rather go without – we will not die from not eating it, that’s for sure.

Anyway, back to the cake, we have a bakery here on the other side of town that sells very nice cakes and other things as well. The curry puffs were RM1.00 each and you buy 10, you get one free. Then, it went up to RM1.10…and now it is RM1.20. Well, you can jack up your prices according to your whims and fancies, that’s your prerogative – I’ve stopped buying. Now, the thing is their butter cakes are just as nice (and some say theirs are even nicer) and they’re selling them for only RM5.00 a loaf. Maybe it is a little smaller but I am pretty certain that it is not very much so. Considering that this one from Kuching is so VERY expensive, I do appreciate your kind thoughts and generosity but no, thank you, folks.

I got this one from my good friend, Lim, who came back the following night after his working trip to Kuching. He also got me these very nice sio bee

Kuching sio bee

…and as you can see, theirs are different from our Sibu Foochow-style ones…

Sibu sio bee 1

…which have a lot more skin and at times, you would find some chopped bits of carrot on top…

Sibu sio bee 2

…and besides, the filling is different. The Sibu ones would have sengkuang/mangkuang (turnip) and minced meat while the Kuching ones have mostly meat…

Kuching sio bee, inside

The quality varies according to the ratio of sengkuang and meat in the Sibu ones…and also the quality of the meat in both. Some are mostly fat and worse, they would add flour, probably to cut cost or what, I wouldn’t know. Then, of course, there would be the differences in the standard recipes between places – some may like the ones here, others may prefer the ones there. That, I suppose, is a matter of personal taste and choice – to each his own.

These, that my friend got for me, were very very nice…thank you so much, Lim, and thanks for the cake some more. Your thoughtfulness is indeed very much appreciated but please do not trouble yourself in future – rushing here and there in between your work and meeting and what not. Been there, done that…and especially when I did not have the transport to go around and would not want to trouble any of the locals, I would just grab a pack of Famous Amos at the airport while waiting for my flight…and no, no!!! No Famous Amos either, thank you. They sure do not come cheap, that I know! Tsk! Tsk!