All that she wants…

Well, Cooking4stp flew into town this afternoon amidst the storm that caused flash floods and massive traffic jams all over town as a result of which it took us more than an hour to get from the airport to the hotel where she was staying.

Still, nothing could stop us from going out for dinner to the place of her choice and having read all my posts on all the delicious food there, she wanted to go to the Ruby Restaurant, no less! She would like to have the bitter gourd with salted eggs that she had the last time she was in town years ago…

Prior to this, she never had bitter gourd all her life, so the fact that she actually wanted to have it again is testament to its superior taste. Then, she wanted to have the butter scotch prawn balls…

Somehow or other, she did not have that the last time, probably because she was too lazy to remove the shell or did not like to get too messy whilst wrestling with the prawns. She did not like lamb, so we decided to have a go with spare ribs instead…

The mayo with lime sauce that we usually had with lamb actually blended very well with the pork. C4stp commented that she never really liked mayonnaise but she found the sauce very nice indeed. Then she wanted to try the Thai-style midin that I had last week

…and to wash all that down, we had the sea cucumber soup.

My missus tagged along for the dinner and for the three of us, that came up to RM39.00 for the food alone – RM13.00 per head, that is…and the advantage of going out for dinner with ladies, they nibbled like mice and guess who ate the lion’s share! LOL!!!

Advertisements

Going out of my head…

BRAIN DAMAGING HABITS

1 No breakfast
People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower sugar level. This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain, causing brain degeneration.

2 Overeating (Oops!!!)
It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

3 Smoking (Oops again!!!)
It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer disease.

4 High sugar consumption (Oh dear!)
Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere will brain development.

5 Air pollution
The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.

6 Sleep deprivation
Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.

7 Lacking in stimulating thoughts
(Those who memorise their way through exams, please take note!)
Thinking is the best way to train our brain. The lack of brain stimulation thoughts may cause brain shrinkage.

8 Talking rarely
Intellectual conversations will promote the efficiency of the brain.

Extracted from a recently-received email. Author and source unknown.

Where have all the flowers gone (2)…

If you may recall, in my previous post under this title, I was talking about durian flowers. Well, it looks like my mother-in-law’s durian tree is flowering again, so I get to eat the flowers. The other day, “inspired’ by the midin I had at the Ruby Restaurant a couple of nights ago, I decided to make some Thai-style durian flower salad. I boiled some water and after putting in the durian flowers, I brought it back to boil and after simmering for a while, I drained away the water…

STP's blanched durian flowers

Then I pounded some pre-soaked udang kering (dried prawns) with chillies and a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) and mixed that with the durain flowers. After that, I cut some shallots into thin slices and some chillies as well, and added all that in as well. Having done that, I cut some kalamansi/lime and squeezed the juice over everything and mixed it all thoroughly. Finally, I deep-fried some ikan bilis/pusu (anchovies) and put that in too…

STP's Thai-style durian flower salad

It was nice – sour and spicy, fragrant from the dried prawns and the anchovies…but something was missing. I know! They usually have roasted peanuts in the Thai-style salad and I did not have any of that. Never mind! Next time I’ll just grab a tin from the shops and sprinkle some over it.

Then, yesterday, my in-laws gave us some more of the flowers, so I decided to cook something different this time. I pounded two shallots, four cloves of garlic, 1 cm ginger and 1 chilli…and I got some serai (lemon grass) and crushed the ends and some curry leaves. Then I heated up some oil in a wok and fried the pounded ingredients until golden-brown and fragrant before adding in the lemon grass and some of the curry leaves. After a while, I put in the durian flowers. Incidentally, I had also added some baby corn, so there would be enough to go round…

STP's durian flower curry 1

I added half a tablespoon of curry powder to that and after mixing it well into everything, I added water and some ikan bilis (anchovies) stock. Finally, I added a bit of evaporated milk (in place of santan/coconut milk) and let it simmer for a while for the gravy to thicken. Then it was ready to serve…

STP's durian flower curry 2

It would definitely be nicer with a bit of udang kering (dried prawns) and belacan (dried prawn paste), but I wanted to give some to my mum and those stuff would trigger off her allergy. It was still very nice though and went perfectly well with rice. Perhaps you would like to give it a try?

The call…

I was enjoying my afternoon tea that day – sandwiches with mashed sardines and thinly sliced fresh shallots and chillies…when the telephone rang. Darn!!! I grudgingly went to receive the call…

Telephone

“Hello, Mr ***!” a woman’s voice was heard on the other end of the line. “I understand you are an expert in choral speaking.” It was an ENGLISH TEACHER and she did not even have the decency to introduce herself nor did she tell me how she got my number. She just said she was from a primary school, that was all.

For one thing, she spoke in that unnatural saccharin-sweet tone that came across as most pretentious and hypocritical. It simply pisses me off really. I do not know why some people (women?) do that for it always conjures images of a vampire on the prowl, going all out to suck my blood…and I would switch into a defensive mode right away.

I told her quite truthfully that my school took part only once because after that year, the Education Director at the time stopped the annual competition for secondary schools as there was a big hoo-ha in Kuching over the judges’ decision and they were fighting tooth and claw, so much so that they started to refer to the activity as “quarrel-speaking”. Over the years, I had been more into debates and public speaking competitions, I told her. I also did not know a thing when I first started. I just plodded on and on, learning slowly bit by bit as I went along.

But she was persistent and kept asking me how to go about it and whether I had any texts. Gee! Did she expect things to be handed to her on a silver platter? Did she expect eveything to just drop down from the sky onto her lap? Well, woman, even if I have, what makes YOU think I will give it to you? My patience was wearing thin…but still, I told her calmly to go to the technology section of the Education Department and borrow the video tapes and cds of past competitions and listen, but she said that they were not clear.

“Well, if that’s the case,” I said, “you will just have to write your own text.” Finally, THE MOMENT OF TRUTH! She whined that they had been taking part for four years and losing and the GB (guru besar or headmaster/mistress) was not happy at all about it. FOUR YEARS? Where have you been, woman? This choral speaking thingy has been around for so long, ever since my daughter was in primary school (and she took part!!).

Obviously, this wretched woman had other GBs before this who did not give a damn whether they participated or not…and obviously, she is one of the MANY teachers like that around, responsibility shirkers whom my former principal would term as “tai chi masters”, pushing everything to everybody else! And it is quite obvious too, the present GB just came four years ago and forced her to get the kids to join, and since they never won, the GB is not too happy with her and probably taking it out on her.

I just told her that if that was the case, she could just go on losing…and finally, she got the message loud and clear and abruptly ended the call and hung up rudely! No apology for disturbing me nor a word of thanks for my time, nothing! I do not see why I should help her. I do not even know who she is…as she did not even have the courtesy to tell me her name. And what will I get in return? Nothing, I bet…knowing the likes of her. Hey, woman! If you’re willing to give me half of your monthly salary, do call me again. Otherwise, F**K off!!!! And those of you who have my contact numbers, please, for heaven’s sake, do NOT give them to such kind of people who give teachers a bad name. The Chinese will say that such individuals say kay nui see bor, pang kay sai see oo! (Direct translation: Lay chicken eggs, don’t have; pass chicken shit, got!)…and just when I was enjoying my afternoon tea! Drats!!! Some people just know how to spoil your day!  

It’s all coming back to me now…

Saturday was a good day for me. I received an email from Yan. She was trying to get my telephone contact, so we could arrange to meet because she wanted to give me some things. I responded and it was agreed that I would wait for her at the centre where I teach after my lesson that day. Her daughter is in my SPM English language 1119 tuition class. Now what goodies did she have in store for me? She made me this cheesecake…

Yan's cheese cake

…and these banana muffins…

Yan's banana muffins

I have not eaten the cheesecake yet but I’ve started with the muffins. They are very nice and crusty with a hint of banana flavour and a sprinkling of crushed hazelnut…and they are low on sugar, so it is perfectly okay if I feast on them all by myself! LOL!!!

Yan was being very modest and kept saying that they were not nice and definitely not as nice as Marcus’. Well, for one thing, Marcus is a professional and for another, anything that is given out of sincerity of heart is superior to all that money can buy (Maybe Changyi will not agree with me on this regarding freebies? LOL!!!). And what most certainly made my day was when she stepped out of the car, probably seeing me for the first time, she remarked, “You look so young!” Ooooo….thank you, thank you, Yan! Now I am constantly smiling in my sleep. ROTFLMAO!!!

And that was not all. Mackie, a former student to whom I had taught English when he was in Forms 4 and 5, was back in town. He comments on my posts occasionally. He had contacted me when he was still in KL to let me know that dates and he would like to take me out to dinner. So it came to be that we went out for dinner on Saturday night, Mackie and I…

Mackie @ Ruby

He had expressed his desire to go to the Ruby Restaurant here in Sibu to try all those delicious dishes that I had been promoting in my earlier posts, so Ruby it was. We had a couple of “new” dishes, including this crab meat soup…

Sibu's Ruby crab meat soup

…and this Thai-style midin salad…

Sibu's Ruby Thai-style midin salad

Both these dishes were nice and worth having, but I think next time, I would let the waitress doing the serving know that I would like a little less black vinegar in the soup for it drowned out whatever taste the soup might have. The midin was done the same way one prepares mango salad, and it could do with a bit more ingredients in order that it could have a stronger kick.

Mackie took a bite at this mayonnaise lamb and said, “Ooo…this is nice!”

Sibu's Ruby mayonnaise lamb

…and he loved the butter scotch prawn balls too!

Sibu's Ruby butter scotch prawn balls

He wanted to eat those vegetables that he “had not eaten for a long time” – those not available in KL, so we also had fried cangkuk manis with egg and another signature dish of the house – pandan chicken…

Sibu's Ruby pandan chicken

He did not pass any comment on it, probably because it should be available in any Thai restaurant and perhaps they have nicer, more authentic ones over there.

There were three of us, in fact. Mackie’s old friend, Jude, was home for the weekend and joined us for the dinner.

Jude @ Ruby

Jude is the elder brother of Clement who sometimes comments in my blog. All that came up to RM55.00 inclusive of rice and drinks, so I think that should make it around RM15.00 per head for the food alone. I would think it was pretty reasonable. What do you all think?

Well, thanks a lot, Mackie, for the dinner. It was nice seeing you again after all these years…and thanks to you too, Yan, for the cakes and all the best to your sweet girl in her coming SPM Examination.

Things…

People collect all kinds of things as a hobby – stamps, first day covers, coins or if they’re rich, they can afford to collect more expensive stuff. Sophia’s hubby, I know, collects antiques. No, no! She’s most certainly not part of his collection! ROTFLMAO!!! In one of my previous posts, I touched on my daughter’s candle collection and somebody in his/her comments asked what I collect. Well, I am not a serious collector but I do have some things that I keep for the sake of keeping them…

I have, for instance, my collection of drink/cocktail stirrers from hotel lounges and pubs…

STP's hotel stirrers collection

These go back a long way to the time when I was in Singapore in the early 70s. I won’t be surprised that some of the hotels and pubs have closed down or changed names. Other than these, I also have some pencils from the hotels that I’ve been to…

STP's hotel pencil collection

I used to travel a lot in line of duty. Other than teaching in school, I also had to attend meetings, seminars and conferences and other than that, time and time again, I had to go round conducting courses for English language teachers or work on projects for the ministry or department. Then there may be some from hotels where I stayed when on holiday with my family. Of course, some give ball-point pens in which case, there will not be any pencils to help myself to.

Other than that, some hotels used the conventional metal keys but many are now using key cards. Some will not allow you to keep them as souvenirs but others are not that bothered whether you return the cards to them or not. So I have a collection of key cards from hotels in Kuching…

STP's hotel key cards 1

STP's hotel key cards 2

STP's hotel key cards 3

…those in Miri and Bintulu…

STP's hotel key cards 4

…Kota Kinabalu, Malacca…

STP's hotel key cards 5

…Kuala Lumpur and Penang…

STP's hotel key cards 6

STP's hotel key cards 7

I may have missed out a couple but these are more or less, what I have in my collection. I bought a name card holder to keep all of them and I do have a lot of extras from the same hotel. So if you have any and would like to swop, I’d be happy to do so with you.

There you have it – the things that I collect, and I do not even need to spend a dime on them. After all, as they say, the best things in life are free…..

Friday on my mind…

It was Friday yesterday, so I decided to go to Yong Siong Cafe that Kongkay posted about recently. It is located along Lanang Road, the shophouses to the left after the first roundabout if you are going from town. According to him, the cook was originally from Min Kong but probably he was still sleeping when I went. A woman was doing the cooking, but I still went ahead and ordered a plate of Foochow fried noodles with fish…

Sibu's Yong Siong's Foochow fried noodles with fish

It was okay, perhaps a bit too much msg to my liking…and I think I prefer the noodles at Min Kong, even without the prawns. However, I noticed that they used pretty good fresh fish unlike many places where they would just give you those slices of frozen fish fillet.

Then, around noon, I had to send my friend, Jimmy, to the airport for his flight back to Bintulu right after his meeting here. Well, we did have time for a quick lunch on the way and I reckoned the quickest would be at this barbecued and roast meat place at Mei Le Cafe at the Delta Commercial Centre near my house.

BBQ meats @ Mei Le Cafe Sibu

I requested for an assortment of barbecued pork ribs, some char siew and the sausage thingy. At least, I had the decency to skip the sar-chan sio bak, the roasted three-layer pork belly. LOL!!! Other than that, we also had some roast chicken and roast duck…

Roast meats @ Mei Le Cafe, Sibu

I’m not too sure but I think the dishes of meat cost around RM10-12 and the rice was RM2; it is now a ringgit a plate, no longer the old price of 50 sen each. Inclusive of drinks, it was less than RM20.00 for 2 persons. The brother operates the stall at the coffee shop opposite Public Bank in the town and both stalls are very popular. This one opens earlier in the morning selling roast duck and chicken only. The barbecued stuff will be available only around 11.30 a.m. onwards and will usually be sold out over lunchtime.

I know! I know! I don’t usually take meat on Fridays as far as possible, so to make up for the indulgence during lunch, I just opened a can of sardines for dinner to eat with rice and dabai and terbulus. LOL!!!