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Monday, May 18, 2015

RIP, Grandma

Grandma had passed away. She had been critically ill for about 7 weeks already ... and the time had come for her to leave all of us to go to a better place.

Thanks for the lovely wreaths ...

The wake was held at home. The house became a hive of activity for 3 days as relatives camped here throughout the day and night. Many friends came to pay their last respects, and we thank them for their thoughtfulness. We thank all who were kind enough to bring us food during the wake. We thank all those who had the many wreaths sent to our house. We also thank all who had accompanied Grandma on her journey to her final resting place.

When we buried her ... 

I was too occupied with people and chores for the past few days .... but as the dust settled, I could feel myself being overcome by grief. I still can't believe that she has gone ......................... RIP, Grandma. See you again. 

Grandma's Funeral

I woke up at about 3.15 a.m. I was disorientated, but I could hear plenty of sounds downstairs - I heard the familiar shuffling of feet, the movement of the furniture, the opening and closing of doors. I knew that Mom was up and about, but I wondered why she had woken up so early! Was it because she couldn't sleep again?

I tried to ignore the sounds and go back to sleep ... but it proved too distracting. It was disturbing my sleep. I got out of the bed and headed downstairs. My intention was to ask Mom to be quieter. As I went down the stairs ... I saw the interiors brightly lit. Fifth Aunt was moving a shelf aside. The dining room was now completely bare. Immediately, I knew what had happened.

Mom saw me at the stairs, and informed me what I had already known. Grandma had passed away that morning. At 1.45 a.m. She was 93 years old. My parents and Fifth Aunt were moving the furniture away to prepare for the funeral wake at our house. At any moment then, Grandma's body was due to arrive at our house.

Outside, I saw that the undertakers were already starting to set up equipment. My other uncles and aunts had also started to come to the house. Soon, the refrigerated casket was ready. We were asked to line up and offer Grandma tea as she was brought into the house and placed in the casket. She looked at peace, just like she was sleeping. An altar was set up in front of the casket and soon, the heady scent of incense filled the whole house.

Dad asked me to prepare the obituary, which I did together with Fifth Aunt. The others set about to contact relatives far and near. I went to work despite the situation at home, but made it home as early as I could.

In the afternoon, as relatives trailed in to pay their last respects, I sat outside at the porch, and burnt hell notes in a basin.


Family members from far away started to come home on the second day. The first to arrive was my bro, sil and Berry who arrived just after midnight .... followed by Third Uncle and family from Perth, Aunt A from Singapore, and cousin A from KL.

The wake was held for 2 days and 2 nights ... and the evening and night times were exceptionally busy times - especially after they had seen the obituary in the newspaper. Relatives, many of whom I had not seen before came by .... so did friends of my parents, uncles and aunts, neighbours, and so on. Even till the very last hours of the wake, people were still coming by!

We also received many lovely wreaths. They filled the entire living room! I counted 19 of them, and 3 bouquets too!


The encoffin service was held on the afternoon of the Second Day. "Big house" was the term they used to refer to the coffin. I'd almost forgotten that there was such a term. We lined up at the side as the coffin was brought to the house .... and Grandma was transferred from the refrigerated casket to the coffin. Then, the undertakers filled the coffin up with some of Grandma's personal belongings, lots of hell notes, and fresh flowers.

2 chanting ceremonies were held - once of each day. On the first day, it was held in the afternoon, and on the second day, it was at night. Anyone could join in the prayers for Grandma. I looked after Berry, as my parents, Bro and sil took part in the prayers.

We experienced lots of love from some friends, and also a particular relative of ours. On the first night, Uncle R's best friend brought a tray of homemade local kueh! They were filled with Kueh Cangkeh and Ondeh-ondeh ..... which we ate and served our guests who dropped by.

Our relative, AC came the next morning with 10 packets of kolo mee and 10 packets of chicken porridge! In the afternoon, he came with packets and packets of assorted buns! On the day of the funeral, again AC brought for us big steamed baos! Nearly 30 pieces altogether!

On the day of the funeral too, Aunt S' friend brought us 3 packets of local kueh! It was really kind of them to bless us with all these food.

So much of love shown by friends and relatives .... 

Some people camped over at our house during the wake. Fifth Aunt stayed overnight together with Grandma's maid. Still, my parents did not sleep a wink on the first night as they kept vigil. On the second night, relatives were at the house all night, sitting through the night at the porch to chit chat .... My parents could finally catch some shuteye. Even then, they slept only for a short while and woke up at about 3.00 a.m. I got up at 4.00 a.m., and did my ablutions and changed into my white t-shirt and black pants. Then joined the other downstairs. Aunt A ... Dad ... Mom ... it was all quiet. Only the Buddha chant was playing on loop on the altar. We had hot coffee while remisnisce about Grandma.

That morning, I pinned a blue square on my right sleeve and tied a blue band on my wrist - a symbol of mourning. At about 10.00 a.m., the ceremony began. We lined up to take the last look at Grandma before the undertakers closed the coffin. Then all the wreaths were brought out. Grandma's coffin was brought to the front of the house and placed behind an altar table. Chanting and prayers were soon to follow, together with some other rituals. Finally, the coffin was loaded into the hearse. A marching band lead the hearse, and all of us walked behind it to the main road and thereafter climbed into a bus.

The funeral procession drove through Sekama Road, Ang Cheng Ho Road, Padungan Road - where Grandma lived before her marriage, and then it drove along Park Lane - where Grandma lived for most of her life .... and finally making its way to the cemetary for burial. More rituals followed at the cemetary, culminating in the removal of our mourning tags and bands. Finally, we were all instructed to throw flowers into the grave and walk back to the bus without turning back.

I did just that - throwing a stalk of yellow Chrysanthemum into the dirt and whispering my goodbye to Grandma. Then I turned and made my way slowly down to the slope and climbed on board the bus. We headed next to Ellis Road, where Grandma's  tablet was unveiled and placed at its rightful place on the shelf, just next to Grandpa's.

Then the family hosted lunch for relatives and friends and helpers and the undertakers at Hoi Tin Lau Restaurant.

We think that the funeral was just as Grandma would have wanted it. She wanted to be sent off from home in a reasonably grand scale. Her children tried very much to fulfill that wish ... and set out to organise the funeral like she would have wanted it.

RIP, Grandma. See you again.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cousin J's Wedding Reception

My cousin J's wedding reception dinner was held at Meisan Restaurant at Grand Margherita Hotel. But the food was terrible. I was disappointed because the last wedding banquet which I had attended here was actually great! 

Hot & Cold Combination 

Fish Lip Soup with Eight Treasures
Hardly any treasures inside ... very meagre with ingredients .... all water and starch

Dragon & Phoenix Combination
Third Aunt said the chicken was not fresh

Steamed Sea Bass With Superior Soya

Meisan Buttered Prawn With Curry Leaf and Bird Chilli
This was a terrible dish because the prawns weren't fresh - the meat was already soft, and not at all succulent. 

Braised Chinese Cabbage with Abalone Slice and Black Mushroom

Braised E-Fu Noodle With Seafood
The taste wasn't nice, the noodles soft, and the seafood? Where? You call that bit of prawn and cuttlefish rings seafood? 

Mini Chocolate Cake

My parents who sat at the main table, however, sang praises of the food ..... so there must be a double standard here ......

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Congratulations Cousin J

We were at Cousin J's in the morning for the tea ceremony .... and thereafter, there was lunch at the house. The food was catered from Verynice Restaurant, Rubber Road. The delivery was an hour's late .... because they claimed to have lost the way ..... hmn ....

 Stir-fried rice vermicelli with cangkuk manis 

Salted fish fried rice

 Thai style fish fillet 

 Sweet and sour pork ribs

 Minced meat and tofu

 Mixed vegetables

Dried buttered prawns

All the dishes were rather yummy. One special item was Klang bak kut teh .... because the groom was from Klang. His parents had the bak kut teh airflown specially.


Bak Kut Teh 

Heated up, the hot herbal soup was really tasty and delicious! Congratulations, Cousin J!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

I took the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction, and here's the link for the recipe. The recipe is very detailed and there are even step-by-step photographs ....

But of course, I tweaked the recipe for my batch of cookies. I weighed 280g of self-raising flour and added 1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Then I melted 170g of butter, and whisked it with 130g of brown sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. It took me about 10 minutes to ensure that everything mixed well together.

When I was happy with the blend of the wet ingredients, I poured it into the dry ingredients and formed a dough .... and it looked rather wet. So I took the liberty to add in a bit more flour ..... I think I would have added at least 20g more of flour. Finally, I folded in 150g of chocolate chip. The dough was sent to the fridge for 2 hours.

After 2 hours .... 

Each of my cookie balls were about 28g .... 

Cookie balls on lined trays ... 

And baked for 12 minutes at 180 degrees ..

Yummy 

The cookie was a very soft and crumbly inside. They were sweet and I would have reduced the sugar a bit more - perhaps 110g will do next time! I also appreciated the prominent taste of butter. Yums. Mom liked them too.

Transfer to air-tight container ... would be nice to eat with plain tea.

Happy. I'm very sure to be making these again! :))

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Made Pancakes

I bought a bottle of Kialla Organic Pancake Mix at my favourite supermarket the other day at a bargain price of RM4.99 only! The pancake mix was due to expire in a couple of weeks .... so before it did, I had to use them up.

The pancake mix contained organic flour, sugar and natural vanilla. So to that, I added about 430 ml of full cream milk. I shook the bottle hard till the flour and the milk blended together to become a thick batter.

Then I heated my non-stick pan, greased it and pan-fried the cakes one by one over low fire. I made 14 pancakes!

Pancakes & organic homegrown banana. Drizzle some honey and it would be perfect! 

My parents enjoyed the pancakes lots! Mom ate 1 and Dad ate 2. I also gave away some to Second Aunt. It was real easy to make, and so nice to eat. :))

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Special Noodle

I ordered this "special noodle" from the stall next to Gourmet Sausage @ No. 6 Kopitiam.

Special Noodle, RM4.00

I'm not sure how "special" it was, compared to regular kolo mee ... just that the noodles used were thick, springy ones - much like ramen.

The noodles were tossed in aromatic shallot oil ... and topped with minced pork, char siew and braised pork. The combination was quite nice and suited my palate. I did not even have to eat my noodles with the ground chilli that it came with. Not bad a meal. Happy. :))

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cooking For The Maid

Mom had to cook for Grandma's maid or helper for 3 days. Mom woke up as early as 4.30 a.m. to prepare the meal, so that she could be in time to bring it over at 8.00 a.m. Mom had to provide 2 meals - lunch and dinner. So after Mom finished cooking, I helped her pack them ... and we might have gone overboard with the amount of rice, especially. Lol.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Mom always cooked extra so that we could have our share for dinner. I found it fun to pack up the food, anyway. :))

Monday, May 11, 2015

Zao Cai Fen Gan @ Fu Cafe

Today at Fu Cafe, I ordered the Zao Cai Fen Gan from the stall outside of the shop, near the back. I thought it's a different stall from the one at the front of the shop, but from the way they cooked the Zao Cai Fen Gan, it looked like they were the same operator.

Zao Cai Fen Gan, RM5.00 

Today's noodles were extremely astringent ... sharply sour, and faint with the aroma of red yeast; the soup not as starchy, but still thick nonetheless. There was poached egg and a couple of slices of pork in the soup .... and that was that. Not so nice, actually.

I was stuck at the shop for half an hour because it was raining real heavily and I did not have an umbrella ..... :P

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Instant Assam Laksa

My friend, L is from Kedah. Sometimes, she craves for a good bowl of Assam Laksa, but is unable to find it here. So she brings over with her, instant Assam Laksa paste from West Malaysia. She gave me 2 packets of the paste the other day. She said that it was easy to make it, and I only had to follow the instructions at the back of the package.

 TalentCook Penang Assam Laksa

The instructions at the back ...

So what Mom and I did, was that we steamed 3 pieces of ikan kembung and then fillet the meat. We picked out the bones and then flaked the fish meat. Then, to one packet of the paste, we added 800ml of water and our flaked fish and brought it to a boil.

Then we blanched thick rice vermicelli, and served it with our fish gravy. For garnishing, we only had cucumber strips and pineapples.

My serving of Assam Laksa

Well, I'm quite happy with the way the Assam Laksa turned out. For it was really quite tasty, and quite authentic in flavour! I do not think we could get anything close to this at any food centre in Kuching ....

The next time I cooked it, however, I'd have to improve on a few things.
1) I'd add some chilli paste to have a spicier broth.
2) I'd need to hunt for some mint to serve my Assam Laksa with.
3) I need more garnishing for my Assam Laksa, namely Bombay onions and cili padi.

Thanks, L, for the pastes. I love it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Curry YTF @ Food Bazaar

Not knowing what to eat at the Food Bazaar, I decided to try the Yong Tau Foo. I hadn't much expectations because I knew that there is nothing close to a decent bowl of YTF available here in Kuching. 

I picked the items I wanted and then asked for curry gravy. 6.30 for 6 items + 1.50 for curry gravy = RM7.80 for my bowl.

My bowl of Yong Tau Foo

So in fact, I thought the curry gravy fared quite well - tasty and good consistency. I regretted not having some noodles in there to enjoy with the curry. Next time I must have some rice vermicelli to soak up all those gravy.

The sauces or dips, however, needed much improvement. Normally, YTF is served with a sweet sauce and a chilli sauce. Here, there are 4 types of sauces - chilli in light soy, ground chilli, sweet soy and sambal. Of the 4 sauces, I found the sambal sauce to be the best.

I always thought there was nothing much to eat at Food Bazaar. Well, food was aplenty, just that I did not find anything appealing to me. At least I could indulge in this curry YTF for a few times more before I get sick of it. :))

Friday, May 8, 2015

Chocolate Sponge Cake

This weekend, I decided to use this recipe from Happy Home Baking.

I beat 2 eggs with 90g of sugar for 5 minutes. The I stirred in the sifted flour mixture, containing 80g of self-raising flour and 20g of cocoa powder and 3g of baking powder and 1g of baking soda and 1g of salt.

When well mixed, I spoon about 2 tbsp of the chocolate batter into a bowl containing 50ml of vegetable oil, 50g of yoghurt, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. I blended the chocolate batter together with the oil and yoghurt and vanilla extract before pouring them all back into my mixing bowl. I used a spatula to mix everything up.

Then I poured my batter into the only loaf pan I have at home ... and baked at 160 degrees for 25 minutes.

My cake

I was disappointed because it wasn't as fluffy as I expected it to be.

Post mortem : Mom said I did not beat the egg and sugar enough ... so the cake couldn't rise. :((

But on the bright side, the cake tasted good - chocolatey and not too sweet! I think it'll be nice if I jazzed it up a bit, to serve the cake with chocolate sauce, or maybe vanilla ice-cream. Yummy ))

I really think that I have no talent for baking ........ till next time. :P

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Craving For Mi Sedaap

I hadn't eaten Mi Sedaap for a while, and had been thinking about it since a few weeks ago. So when I chanced upon it in the supermarket, selling cheap at RM2,39 per pack of 5, I just had to buy a packet!

At home, I cooked it super quickly .... boiled water, blanched the vegetables and the noodles, seasoned it, fried an egg and also a sausage. Then I had it served.

Quick and easy meal

And my craving satisfied. Mi Sedaap is just one of my favourite instant noodles! Yums.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Family Brekkie @ Thompson Corner

My folks and I haven't gone out together for a while. So this morning, we thought we'd go grab something to eat before going grocery shopping. I wanted Mom and Dad to try the laksa at Sweetie Pie. We got there past 9.00 a.m., and the laksa had already sold out. So we went next door to Thompson Corner.

Dad wanted to eat roti canai .... but I ordered him a roti telur instead.

Roti telur, RM1.90

Dad did not comment on the roti telur, so I would assume that it was alrigh. 

Mom and I shared it a lui cha.

Lui cha, RM4.50

The herbal broth was dark green in colour. It looked menacing, and indeed tasted bitter. But it had a pleasant aftertaste of a certain herb. The soup was served hot, and I liked it. The white rice in the other bowl was topped with lots of chopped vegetables .... French beans, cangkuk manis, mustard greens, preerved radish, and lots of peanuts. Very textural and yummy. Both Mom and I enjoyed the lui cha.

I also ordered a chee cheung fun to share.

Chee Cheung Fun, RM6.00

This chee cheung fun had mixed a filling of prawn and char siew .... and this was not worth ordering. The pastry was soft instead of chewy, so it wasn't pleasant to the palate. The filling was meagre, and the soy sauce wasn't fragrant at all. Its saving grace was the little saucer of piquant sambal which came with it. At RM6.00, this was really expensive. 

Our tummies filled, we headed to EG Mall to shop for groceries ..... 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Abee Traditional Buns

Abee Traditional Buns is now selling at Jalan Padungan. Today, I felt like going there to buy some freshly baked buns. I bought butter buns and coconut buns, both now selling at RM1.40 each. I also bought a char siew bun, which now cost RM1.70.

Coconut bun is dotted green, and a round char siew bun, served with chilled wild honey

The cross section of the char siew bun
Baked fresh, the char siew bun was really very enjoyable - the pastry was soft, fluffy and fragrant; and the filling was chunky and savoury, with just a tinge of sweetness. 

The cross section of the coconut bun 

The coconut filling was generous, but disintegrated very easily .... the filling was also not sweet.

The buns made great afternoon tea .... those two buns became my dinner too! Because after I ate them, I had no more room for dinner!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ah Yew Laksa

I was having lunch at Good Taste Cafe (好口福茶餐室) at Jalan Sekama, just next door to IPH Roasted. There were a few choices of food to eat here - noodles, laksa, claypot dishes and so on. I decided to try the laksa.

Ah Yew Laksa

The laksa was RM6.00. It was visually unappealing. Never mind that, but the broth was not hot enough. Lukewarm laksa was definitely not enjoyable. Ingredients were meagre - the prawns, omelette, chicken, beansprouts and rice vermicelli. So though the laksa broth was alright, I'd deem this bowl of laksa not worth eating. Another vendor shoddy about the quality of food served. Sigh. If this is the best laksa they can offer for RM6.00, don't expect me to come back here for it.

Here's something from the claypot stall ... 

Healthy! 

I did not try this, so I did not know whether it was nice or not. :))

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chicken Rice @ Chuan Xi Cafe

The other day, my friend was telling me of the chicken rice here at Chuan Xi Cafe, and so I was tempted to try it.

Ok. Say Chuan Xi Cafe, and hardly many people will know. But people will definitely know where it is if you tell them to go to the "coffee shop opposite Public Bank at Jalan Song Thian Cheok". That's exactly what the man told me as well.

What was great about the chicken rice here was the large portion! One gets a good serving of freshly cooked chicken rice at a bargain price of RM4.00!!

RM4.00 only! 
Lots of fragrant and tasty rice, a platter full of boneless chicken, a hot bowl of peanut soup, and power chilli sauce. It was delicious! 

Smooth and succulent steamed chicken, seasoned with sesame and soy sauce, on a bed of sliced cucumbers 

The roasted version of the chicken .. 

The rice, the meats and the soup did not taste artificial ... so I knew that they weren't overladen with msg. What was a tad overpowering was the chopped coriander topping the meats and the soup ...... I did not quite like the coriander. So I just pushed them aside to the side of the plate. I did not have to eat them. But at RM4.00, I wasn't about to complain about anything at all! Definitely recommended. Worth eating. :))

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bak Kwa Sandwich

Today was one of those days I had to stay back at school till late in the afternoon .... so I had to pack my own lunch. One of my favourite sandwiches to make, was of course, the bak kwa or rou gan (肉干) sandwich. They were easy to make, taking me just a few minutes to assemble.

Butter the bread, top with thinly sliced cucumbers, a piece of  bak kwa into 2, and then cover with another piece of buttered bread. Easy as that.

My lunch box .... 

I used the Bee Cheng Hiang bak kwa, which Bro bought from the outlet in KL, so the bak kwa was really tasty. On the side were 2 slices of chocolate cake from Mita Cake House ... and an orange origami heart. :P

It was a great lunch. :))

Friday, May 1, 2015

Good Cosmos Burgers

S and I went to Cosmos Burger for lunch. Cosmos Burger opened only a few weeks ago at Brighton Square. So far, I'd not heard of people talking about their burgers, hence, I do not quite know what to expect.

Hence, when the food arrive, we were superbly impressed. Both S and I enjoyed our burger meals very much, and would recommend our friends to come visit as well. :))

 American Favourite, RM14.90 
Soft and lightly toasted bun, with beef patty, cheese, 2 rashers of beef bacon, tomato, coral lettuce and honey mustard sauce.  

Mushy Mushy, RM13.90
Soft and lightly toasted bun, chicken patty, chese, egg, tomato, coral lettuce and  creamy mushroom sauce

All meals were served with thick cut fries and coleslaw.

Now what's good?
1) The buns were soft and fresh, not stale.

2) The meat patties were tender .... not overcooked. Imagine me eating the whole beef burger using plastic fork and knife. It was very manageable. S really loved the chicken patty - not made of minced chicken but a whole piece of chicken meat. It was juicy, succulent with a tad smoky flavour.

3) The honey mustard sauce was flavourful - tangy and sweet; I did not try the mushroom sauce.

4)  The fries were crispy and not soggy.

5) The cashier was polite, and food was served reasonably quickly.

What's to be improved?
1) Coleslaw - now it's just plain and dry shredded vegetables with a dollop of mayo on top .... why not make the real coleslaw, mixing the dressing with the vegetables, chilling it before serving?

2) And the use of a certain flag in the shop would be offensive to certain people .... so I hope they would remove that.

Overall, we were both pretty satisfied with our meal this lunch, and we feel that we've got our money's worth of burgers. We went home happy. :))

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