Step by step…

It was Friday yesterday…and I would abstain from meat on this day every week…as far as possible (Take note of this if you’re thinking of inviting me out for dinner on a Friday so you can eat all the meat! LOL!). I guess it’s a habit so deeply ingrained in me from young that I still abide by the practice especially during the season of Lent, even though it is no longer required by the church except for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday every year.  In the past, Catholics could not eat meat every Friday as a form of penance, and eat fish or seafood instead. I guess considering the prices of fish and prawns and the like these days, it would be more of an indulgence than penance to eat these instead of meat.

Anyway, I stopped by the grocer’s yesterday to pick up some onions, garlic and ginger and I saw that she had a little bit of midin left. Midin is actually a fern that grows wild; and it is very popular these days because other than tasting very nice,  it is free from pesticides and chemical fertilisers. I understand that to meet the growing demand, it is now cultivated…

Jungle fern

Surprisingly, it is not available in West Malaysia…and I’m not sure whether one can get it in Sabah or not. To prepare, you just break off the softer upper part of the fern (which bends or breaks easily)and discard the rest of it. The Chinese would cook it with garlic and red wine…but I prefer it  with sambal belacan and udang kering. Well, yesterday, I put in a bit of shallots, garlic, ginger, kunyit (tumeric) and cili padi…and I pounded these together with a bit of belacan… 

Ingredients

I also pounded some dried prawns (udang kering) which I had soaked in hot water first to soften them. This is what you will have in the end; the pounded dried prawns are to the left on the plate…

Pounded ingredients

Then I heated a bit of oil in the wok…and threw in the pounded ingredients. Stir regularly until fragrant and when they turn golden brown, throw in the midin. Usually I do not add salt or msg because I would like to savour the taste of the fern and the ingredients…but you may do so if you prefer your food saltier. So there you have it…one plate of delicious, crunchy fried midin with sambal udang kering

Fried midin with sambal

Well, if you’re wondering if that was all I had for dinner, it certainly was not! I also cooked this ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret) that I found in the freezer. My missus enjoys buying things and stuffing them in the refrigerator…and may or may not get round to cooking them!!! A lot of things get thrown away eventually…which is such a waste really, especially in these days with all the escalating prices of things!!! So, together with the midin, we also had this sweet and sour fish dish…

Sweet and sour fish

Now, what about you? Cooking anything special this weekend?

Faint…

Actually I received something like this via email a long time ago…and the boy’s name then was Pepito. Some of you might have received it too.  Well, recently somebody emailed me the same thing but this time the boy’s name had been changed to Johnny. Anyway, what’s in a name? And since it’s Friday…and I don’t think anybody’s in the mood for anything heavy, I thought I’d just share it with you…..

It was Friday morning and the teacher was doing an activity called “Add to the picture”.  She would call students to the blackboard one at a time.  The first student would draw an object on the board and each student after that would add something to the picture to make it a new picture.  The teacher called upon James to start things off… 

Picture No 1

James returned to his seat and the teacher called on Ernie next…

Picture No 2

After that, Ernie went back to his seat…and now, it was Suzy’s turn…..

Picture No 3

When Suzy had returned to her seat, the teacher called Jerry to the board next…

Picture No 4

Jerry returned to his seat after he had drawn that. The teacher looked around the class…and then called Kim’s name. So Kim went up to the board…

Picture No 5

Then, Kim returned to her seat. Everything was going on smoothly and the teacher was pleased. Just then, little Johnny began waving his arm frantically. The teacher’s blood ran cold for that boy was notorious in the class for being always up to mischief.  “He can’t be up to anything good,” the teacher thought to herself, reluctant to let him go to the blackboard.  But as she looked at the picture on the blackboard, she thought that there was no way he could do anything to cause a riot…so she relented and asked him to go ahead and draw. Johnny jumped up instantly and ran to the board…..

Picture No 6

Little Johnny had done it again! The entire class erupted as the kids roared with laughter. The teacher fainted…..

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Source of images unknown.

What goes around comes around…

Sometime last week, I saw some nice sweet potatoes so I decided to cook sayur masak lemak (vegetables cooked in coconut milk). Other than a few of those, I also bought one small cabbage, some tau hu phok (fried bean curd), a packet of fish balls and bean curd sticks; I didn’t have much to choose from at that supermarket near my house. Anyway, once I got home, I pounded some shallots, garlic, chillies, kunyit (tumeric) and belacan, all mixed together, some udang kering (dried prawns) pre-soaked in hot water and the ends of serai (lemon grass). I also peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes, cut the cabbage into large pieces and  the tau hu phok into quarters and soaked the bean curd sticks. Then I was ready to roll…

I heated some oil in the wok and threw in the pounded ingredients…and when they’ve turned light brown, I put in the fish balls and tau hu phok and added water. Then I put in the sweet potatoes and bean curd sticks…and when it had started to boil, I added a can of santan (coconut milk). When it started to boil again, I added salt (according to taste; msg is optional as it will be very sweet already)…and then I threw in the cabbage, turned off the fire and covered the wok. The trapped heat would be sufficient to cook the vegetable without getting it all soft and soggy.

Kampung delicacies

You can see the sayur masak lemak at the top of the photo. Other things that I could have added include prawns, pucuk paku (wild fern), young corn, black fungus and so on, and when you add a bit of this and a bit of that, you end up with a big pot that could feed an army.  That was what happened in my case…so I gave some to my mum, some to my in-laws and some to my aunt in the Jackfruit Village (Kpg Nangka) who said it was very nice and coming from her, THAT would be a compliment!!!

And as they say, what goes around comes around…and she gave me some beef curry and one whole ikan terubok masin (salted fish). I fried a bit and kept the rest for future consumption; you can see it at the bottom left of the photo. Besides, she also gave me some buah kepayang (It was very nice but I don’t know what that is! Maybe gundot can help?) in sambal ikan bilis. That’s the dish in the bottom right corner. Then my in-laws gave me a big pot of braised five-spice pork with hard boiled eggs. Gosh! I had enough food to last a week!!!

And since we’re on the subject of food and cooking, I would like to share with everybody something about cooking kailan. In the past, I used to cut off the stalks and the stems and slice them if they’re too big…and I would cook this first to soften them before adding the leafy parts. I found out recently that instead of doing that you can slice the stems and stalks into long, thin strips and when soaked in water, they will curl up and form nice flowery shapes.  When you fry them, they will cook easily and yet retain the shape. I cooked some yesterday and here’s what it looked like…..

Fried kailan

Attractive and appealling or not? I fried it in a bit of oil with chopped garlic, a bit of belacan and red chillies and added some chicken stock granules. Nice!!! And today, I fried some cangkuk manis with egg…

Fried cangkuk manis

So what have all of you been cooking lately…..

 

Never again…

Photo from www.americanidol.com

@#$%&*+#%!!!!…OK, having got that out of my system, let’s talk! LOL!!! Well, I certainly will not say that never again will I watch the show considering that one gets to see such frustrating results year in, year out…and that is what reality shows are all about. After all, aren’t these the same people who voted Chris Daughtry out? And Eliot Yamin? I heard sometime ago that they thought Clay Aiken would win but they chose Rubben Studdard instead…and I will never forget that last year, they booted out Melinda Doolittle – my favourite over all the years and threw their support behind one broken-down record with repeating grooves and a baby elephant! Gosh! The baby elephant is a full-grown one now, if you caught her in the live telecast of the show this morning. And now that she’s “famous”, I would think she would have a fashion consultant but she came out wearing something like a maternity dress and the material looked like something people use for curtains or the backdrop for the stage in some Chinese restaurants!

Well, David Archuleta was cooked, nothing’s gonna change that now. But actually, all this while, I felt David Cook was the better candidate for the title.  Each week, he never failed to impress – good vocals, good songs…though it was beginning to get a bit boring. The Cow liked his “Billie Jean” or “Hello” but I loved his rendition of “The first time ever (I saw your face)”.  It’s a simple song that would sound monotonous and boring if handled badly, but he did a very impressive job.  Too bad he only sang one verse! But last night, he did not even come close! The clip at the end showed the part where he went completely flat on U2’s “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” (which incidentally is JFV’s most eligible bachelor, Kpg Nangka Boy’s theme song! Hahahahahahahaha!!!!).

I liked Archuleta when I heard him sing “Imagine” but it had been downhill all the way.  His “Sweet Caroline” was a mess…and how could he do that to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Think of me”? His rendition of Chris Brown’s “With you” was below par…but last night, I thought he redeemed himself…and should have won if it was all based on the performances in the finale alone.

For one thing, Cook’s a rocker…someone in the mainstream pop genre that most young people (girls) will favour. Women probably found his rugged, scruffy looks irresistably sexy, THAT I won’t know!!! LOL!!! On the other hand, mums would love to cuddle Archuleta with his cute baby looks and his sweet smile…and the songs that he sang well are not the type that the younger lot would be crazy about…the kind people like Grandma Kruzer (of TraxxFm Pat and Mag in the afternoon’s fame! ROTFLMAO!!!!) love.  That probably explains the 56%-44% difference in the votes counted…

Well, it’s over and done. Feel free to disagree and post your comments! Air your personal opinions. Many of you couldn’t wait and have already dropped in to gloat about it in the previous post!!! Good! Good! Keep them rolling in!!! In the meantime, I’ll just have to wait another year to get all heated up all over again! Some people never learn, do they? Hahahahahahahaha…..

P.S. Those of you who missed the 2-hour live telecast this morning can catch it tonight at 6 p.m. on Star World (The repeat may be on right now, 1300-1500 Malaysian time, but I’m not too sure.) It was worth watching with Disco Queen Donna Summers (I love “Last Dance”), Bryan Adams, ZZ Top…and ooooo….One Republic doing a duet with Archuleta on “Apologise” and Gladys Knight and the Pips (Are those celebrity-actors playing the Pips?) doing my all-time fave, “Midnight Train to Georgia”…and don’t tell me you don’t love George Michael’s song – Didn’t catch the title but it’s something that would be ideal for singers like Archuleta! So if u haven’t watched it yet, don’t miss it!!!! 

  

I will survive…

As far as I can remember, when I was little, there were only three main restaurants in Sibu – Yien Kien, Hock Chiu Leu and New Capitol. The first one had since closed down (Didn’t this one belong to your family, Alex? Andrew?) while the second one is still in business, I think…though I’m not sure who goes there these days;I haven’t been there for ages. The New Capitol Restaurant, however, is enjoying a thriving business in the face of stiff competition from the newer establishments, and it’s best known for its kampua (the authentic stuff…with lard) and Hainan Chicken Rice, the proprietress being Hailam.

I was there a few days ago on Monday (Wesak Day, so it was a public holiday here) for a Teachers’ Day lunch reception hosted by the tuition centre where I’m presently moonlighting to make ends meet. It started off with the hot combination dish…..

Hot combination dish

Ooo…just look at those slices of ham (over RM10 for around 4 slices here!!!)! And the stewed beef was absolutely tender and delicious…and there were abalone and prawns!!! I really feasted on the selections like there was no tomorrow. (How come nobody’s surprised? LOL!!!) After this came the soup dish that I shall not name…and anyway, it was just the usual stuff, nothing to shout about, but the dish that came after that was really worth dying for…

Grilled ikan terubok 

One of the teachers managed to get fresh ikan terubok from Mukah…and the restaurant really did it superbly, with the special sambal seasoning and grilled to perfection – the fish was still juicy and sweet!!!! I went to see the proprietress to see if I could tapau one home…but she said it would only be available upon special order!!! I ate and ate and ate…and still yearned for more!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Yes, it was THAT nice, I tell you! Anyway, the poultry dish was served next…

Poultry dish

They had deep-fried honey-coated sesame chicken on one side and on the other, some yam thingy stuffed with duck. The latter was a bit dry but was not too bad with the special sauce provided.  Personally, I do not eat anything with sauce unless the taste leaves much to be desired. Then there was this broccoli and mushroom dish… 

Broccoli mushroom

My friend with me whispered to me that mine was nicer.  I had cooked it once when he dropped by my place for lunch, so either he was hoping for another free meal…or I really am a good cook!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!! Then there was this sea cucumber dish which they served in individual bowls so I could not snap a picture of it, but I didn’t like it. I thought it had a bit too much ginger…and I hate getting the thinly-sliced strips of the root in my mouth.

After that came the dessert…

Sio bee and pancake

In the past, people had to travel long distances to attend such feasts, so to ensure that they would not go hungry on the way home…the banquet would end with very heavy stuff like sio bee (siew mai) and Foochow fried noodles. So in line with the tradition, we had, together with the fried pancakes with red bean paste, sio bee – the way we knew them to be. They’re different from what we have at dim sum places today and needless to say, they taste as nice as they used to when we were little children, fighting to eat as many we could before all of them were gone.

Well, it was different from what we can get in the newer restaurants but if that’s what diners can expect at New Capitol, I’m pretty certain it will survive…..

 

AMERICAN IDOL UPDATE: David Archuleta was in perfect form tonight PLUS his perfect choice of songs especially his trump card – “Imagine”.  Throughout all three rounds, it was clearly a clean sweep over David Cook who was tense and looked as if he had not slept the whole night and his choice of songs did not allow him to actually shine in any way.  As the Cow put it, “It was a knockout!!!” Being a reality show, I only hope the voters will not turn the tables on Ar…chu! Ar…chu! Ar…chu! God bless you!!! LOL!

A man and a woman…

Often has it been said that women are from Venus, men are from Mars, and indeed, they are different physically, emotionally and psychologically. Well, I received these (from that someone in Kuala Penyu) via email, and I wonder how accurate they actually are. I guess all of you can be the judge of that. Now, the first one is a diagram showing a woman’s brain…..
The female brain
So, what is your opinion? On the other hand, the brain of a man is portrayed as being quite different, like this…..

The male brain

LOL!!! The original that I received was animated, so you would get to see the “pulsating” movements. Well, I don’t know but maybe Cocka’s brain is like that but as far as STP’s is concerned, it is quite obvious that mine is filled mostly with FOOD. What about yours??? ROTFLMAO!!!

P.S. This is just a “commercial break” from all the food posts, so don’t come up in arms against me for whatever is depicted in the images (Sources unknown).