Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Bloggers' Meet

In Kuching when someone talks big, you response by saying 'yerday'. It means 'yeah, right'. You've got to drag it when you say it - yerrrrrdayy. I have no clue where this thing actually originated from. We just kind of grew up with it. It's just culture now.

So when I say there was a Meeting of The Great Kuching Bloggers last week, it's appropriate to say yerrrdayyy! Cos the only bloggers there was me & Nee, CK Go Places & Wombok & his quarter-blogging-sister Brede (she writes comments only), and we were just a bunch of amateurs with zero advertising revenues.

That night was potluck. So everybody brought something.

The brother-sister tag team Wombok & Brede brought homemade spaghetti...

and also wine from Argentina.

Wooo... so exotic.

CK brought these char siew puffs. And there's a long story behind this. It's supposed to be the best in Kuching from a little shop called Chong Choon at India Street.

But instead, he didn't get what he ordered. The shop accidentally sold his puffs to someone else, and replaced it with a different kind. What a sucky move. The original ones would have been heavenly.

The meetup was interesting because it's the first time we had actually met Wombok properly. In person, he talks exactly like how he writes.

He moves fast when he eats. So it was kinda hard to capture his moves. I think a National Geographic wildlife photographer would do much better than me.

You will always be able to identify a blogger from a mile away.

Food is important to them. But photographic documentation takes precedence over everything else.

Here's the spread on the table.

Nee tried making mushroom cream soup but it turned out to be water with clumps of cream. NEE: Ehmm the soup actually is really tasty. Just that when i add cream the soup was too boiling hot. Hence, cream separated. khmm khmm... and that is what precisely what you should not do.

Nee's Pork Roll with baked potatoes & apple sauce.
It'd be RM100 on the menu. Yerrrdayyy!

Nee's Roasted Leg of Lamb. Mary HAD a little lamb with 4 legs, but not anymore.

And so we ate & we talked & we joked. Cheers to blogging brother-sisterhood, a blessed Christmas & a good year ahead with lots of readership & advertising revenues.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Night at the Sahara

Sounds excitingly romantic doesn't it? Sounds only lah.

This is the closest thing ever to the Sahara desert in Kuching.

I don't know why but this place always reminds me of a sleazy pub. Maybe it's the people standing there. Maybe it's the guy in blue who looks likes he's at a urinal.

It took us a while to get to know the place, and now we're regulars.

The only thing that indicates this restaurant has got something to do with Sahara is the camel on the door, other than the name of course.

We were there on Monday nite to celebrate Nee's birthday, in a small way, just the two of us only.

In Kuching, there are 4 places where you can get good meaty meals:
1) Carvery (Pending area)
2) Mr. Ho's Fine Food (Crown Square - Expensive!)
3) My Restaurant (owned by Carvery's ex-chef)
4) Sahara (owned by Tom's brother - near UNACO Countryside in Tabuan Laru)

Like I said, I don't know why this place is called Sahara.

There seemed to be more Christmas themes than the desert.

But anyway, I was dressed for Hawaii that night.

The place also has a wine bar which doesn't seem to be happening.

The birthday girl.

Pardon us for not looking excessively lively. We were really hungry at that time.

Here's the menu so that you can have an idea of what they have. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are ok.

We started off with Ceasar salad, which was excellent. Could have been a little too sourish for Nee. But I was walloping like nobody's business. We stopped halfway & realised that we forgot to take a picture.

Ceasar Salad - halfway gone.

Whenever you're in one of these 4 heavenly restaurants, you should always try the mixed grill where there is an assortment of different meat & sausages.

It's a good dish for people who don't know what they want cos almost everything's in it.

And finally we had the Lamb Shank. The meat was tender and well seasoned and sauce is definitely appetizing.

We had also tried other things on the menu the last couple of times with friends. The Grilled Pork Ribs is wonderful and the Fish and Chips is good as well. What we like about this place is you get very standard western meal at reasonable price ranging from RM 9.50 for salad to RM38 for mixed grill. Go in a group and share different dishes. Definitely rate 8 to 8.5/10 for Western Food establishment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another Porridge Detox Project

We have really really have been overindulging ourselves. After two nights of meats, we could not take the third round. And it is back to good old porridge.

This time plain porridge with some simple side dishes that can be whipped out within one hour.

Here are some our favourite porridge side dishes ideas:

a) Perserved Salted eggs, Century eggs with some soy sauce, bottled chai sim

b) Steamed pork mince with egg

This is an absolute must-have with porridge especially when you are sick, or have a bad toothache, or no teeth. Otherwise, it's a simple & yet tasty dish on a lazy day.

150 to 200 gm of pork mince
1 tbsp of onion, minced
1 teasp of salt
1 tbsp of light soya sauce
1 tbsp of huatiaw wine
2 tbsp of water
2 no of eggs

1) Mix all ingredients together till even and steam on high heat for 12 min or so. Doneness can be tested by poking the dish and if the juice run out is still pink, steam for another 3-5 min.

c) Perserved radish (chai po) omelette

Another porridge good friend. Depending on the radish, it should be washed slightly. If really salty, soak and wash.

50 gm of perserved radish, chopped finely
1/2 no of medium onion, chopped
3-4 no of eggs
2 tbsp of oil

1) Heat oil in wok till hot. Stir fry onion till fragrant. Add radish and fry till radish is cooked. Add whisked eggs. Cook for 3-4 min on one side and flip to the other side and continue cooking for another 2-4 min. Dish out and serve.

Another similar dish is Luncheon Meat Omelette. Replace perserved radish with 1 small can of luncheon meat sliced to small strips.

d) Ribs with black bean sauce

This one is yummy. Top the sauce onto the porridge.

300-400 gm of pork ribs
1 1/2 tbsp of sweet bean sauce (tau chuo)
2 tbsp of huatiaw
1 1/2 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of minced ginger
1 tbsp of dark soy

1) Marinade everything together and add a little cornflour. Season for an hour or so. Steam on high for 15 min.

e) Stir fry vegies such as chai xin, little cabbage.

f) Sardines

1 small can of sardines
1/2 no of medium onion chopped
2 tbsp of sugar
2-3 local lemon (limau), squeezed out the juice

1) Stir fry onion til fragrant. Add sardines, then the sugar. When mixture starts to bubble and right before serving, add the juice. Dish out and serve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NEE's Birthday

Celebrated my XX birthday yesterday. I woke up lazy and contemplating to take the day off. As students are all on holiday and Christmas mood is nearing, all I had to do was just call the office and say I am not coming in.

But Greg insisted I should just show face in the office and actually strongly encouraged me to go. It did not occur to me that he was acting a little funny, even when he offered to send me to work.

My sweet hubby actually had a birthday bouquet send to my office. The poor guy was sweating for the whole morning, running in and out of the house to secretly make calls to confirm sending, then cancel sending, and then confirm sending again, and I did not even know.

Well, receiving flowers in public strangely makes a woman feel very superior and how lien. It's the case of 'Look! Look! I have flowers!' It seems like women also have their egos to be fulfilled. So men, surprise your wives once in a while.

And that night, we had a little dinner at Sahara. Will let Greg tell you all about it.

Greg: The flowers came with this. I thought the pink was a bit teeny & corny for our age. So I took it off.

Rich Cocoa Brownies

I should not be talking about how to bake Brownies without the recipe. So here is a very easy & fast way of making one without the big baking machines.

A while ago, I was introduced to this Brownies premix by a local baking ingredient store. I was told that there's no need to use chocolate at all and they swore that was the best brownies they have ever had. But I don't like premix. Like how little children would tell us adults, "But it's for babies!" Seriously, I dont like premix (except maybe sponge mixes) for the simple fact that I don't know what is in there.

So I took a guess and went searching all over the place for brownies with cocoa powder only. I found this on one of the cooking and baking engines (sorry I really cannot recall the name). And the instructions are so similar to the one I saw on the premix package. And the result was very rich chocolatey brownies with a crusty candylike top, siding towards a little bittersweet because I cut down on the sugar.

200gm of butter
200-220gm of brown sugar
2 no large cold eggs
50 gm of plain flour
60 gm of cocoa powder (no milo please)
1/2 teasp of vanilla essence
1/4 teasp of salt
1/2 teasp of baking powder

Optional: nuts like walnuts, pecan, almond. For decoration ideas you can refer to my previous blog Rich Chocolate Brownies.

I used an 8 inch by 8 inch square pan and it turns out a little thin, which is good as one can only take so much of rich food at this time of the year. Do double or add another 50 percent to the recipe for higher ones.

1) Melt butter in double boiler or microwave till all hot and melted. Add sugar and stir with a whisk till sugar is melting.

2) Add cold eggs (straight from fridge) into the mixture one at a time and continue stirring. By now all the sugar will be melted. And the mixture will look really smooth and resemble caramel.

3) Sift the dry ingredients all together. Add to mixture. Stir vigourously till all dry ingredients are mixed in and the mixture is all chocolatey and smooth.

4) Pour in pan that is lined with baking paper at the bottom. Bake at 165 deg cel without fan for 18 to 25 min. Please do not overbake. Check at 18 min and every five subsequently. If the skewer comes out with moist bits sticking on it, brownies is done. If overbake the results will be dry. If skewer comes out with wet batter, continue baking as it is not yetcooked. Leave it in pan to cool for at least 15 min before taking out.

5) Cut brownies into little squares (2 inch by 2 inch) and serve with vanilla ice-cream. Wow your guests with your Cocoa Brownies this Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Goodies!

Baking and cooking with kids can be fun and inspiring. It makes me think real hard. It has to be easy enough, yet at the same time, it has to be something that they'll like and enjoy. Fortunately Christmas is nearing. So we just did things that revolved around that theme.

Christmas Logs with Fruity Swiss rolls

We had a cooking session in the morning, which consisted of mainly homemade pizza, from the base to sauce and toppings and the burgers, including the burger pates. These are items that they like to eat and they can be involved.

Overloaded Pizzas

The afternoon was purely baking. Here are the goodies we made. Yes i say WE cause the kids actually helped with the weighing of ingredients, scooping the batter, LICKING UP the bowls and chocolate bits, staring at the oven and then finally decorating the items.

See what I mean.

Our goodies gallery:

Rich Cocoa Brownies

Assorted Christmas Cupcakes

It's important to remember not to take cooking with kids too seriously. Please they are just children. Otherwise, you will be pulling out all your hair. Just go ahead and have lots of fun. FUN FUN FUN! And let the maid pick up the mess. And it was fun and awesomely inspiring and of course children are always entertaining with their words and antics.

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