31032016 Frozen Dinner

My frozen dinner idea is working. But this is not  something new. During my Uni days, my Flatmate and I have been doing this since the early 90's and this is one way of making sure our money lasts. Even my Dad said the same thing, which is to go get a big chunk of minced meat, fried it with onions and keep it in the fridge, only to take it out when you need to eat it with some rice. Not only that, it also offers the convenience of not having to spend so much time in ht kitchen to prepare a meal from scratch.

What I do is, before I leave for work, I'll take one box out of the freezer and leave it inside thee fridge for it to slowly thaw out. It would be ready for heating up by the time I get off work. But on the occasion that I forgot to take it out, well, I'm still not worried.

The best thing about frozen blocks of er... curry is that you can slowly bring it to the boil. What I did here was to add some water to the pot. But of course, time was wasted to cook the spaghetti earlier.

Once the curry is ready, and with the additional water, I now have my very own curried pasta!
So far, the plan is working and looking into the groceries for the week, I would save quite a bit but not much. It needs more fine-tuning, which I'll explain later.

29032016 The Pasta Solution

Sometimes, when you're between eating phases, no matter what they are there would be a point where you are basically bored with the food. There was a day I got bored between eating the egg/rice combo and curry/rice stuff.

And for me, no matter what the dish was for the day, falling back to pasta was always the best answer to my bored but hungry stomach. This was because you can literally add anything to them and they still taste wonderful (to me, that is). Add some salad and you have a healthy dish, a dollop of sardine/ diced onions or even salmon flakes, you're good to go too. Seaweed leaves, a few spoonfuls of Dhal or even those coconut sauces you get with Tosai can still make this humble pasta look delicious. One day, I'm going to make some salad with them.

But for tonight, it was chicken curry and spaghetti! Yay!

Healthy? It depends on what and  how much ingredients you add to this little amazing carbo wonder.

27032016 My Miracle Curry

Basically, making curry (to me) is quite simple, thanks to those pre-made Curry Packs. You can never go wrong with them.

Or so I thought.

Plus, one thing I have learnt is that when you need to cook something which involves communication via WhatsApp to your Wife, you NEED to make sure she is available and also discuss your game plan during the pre-planning stage. The situation can go from "Yeah!" to "Oh, sh*t" in matter or seconds.

Hours before this, I marinated the chicken with some curry powder. I love Onions and so, I sliced, cut and fried about 4 onions, along with some garlic and ginger.

As soon as the chicken looks slightly cooked, I added half a packet of the curry into the pot. This was where I got distracted with the WhatsApp and left a burnt mark on the side of the pot.

(L-R) These are the vegetables I'll be adding, longbeans, potatoes, bits of brocoli, brinjals

Halfway through, I had to take out everything because one mistake...

The vegetables will cook very quickly but not the potatoes. So, I need to cut them to smaller sizes.

Almost there, and it's the time to add the milk. However, I added to early since I wanted the curry to simmer for an hour. Which mean the milk was being boiled for too long.

Anyway, it looks hot and tasted quite good. But for a real oomph, coconut milk (aka santan) is the best solution. However, they also make the curry go bad very fast too, something I cannot  accept since this need to last for a week.
I  left it to cool overnight and on the next morning, I put them into five plastic containers. This would last me for 5 meals, each with a generous serving.

This is the ready-mix curry which I use only half the pack.

26032016 Super Hot Salad

While I was busy messaging everyone and also cooking the soon-to-be disastrous Sup Bunjut for lunch, I actually had time to make a Salad too. This time, the Salad will be different. Sure, it will have the basic cucumber, carrot and honeyed dates combo but that's as far as my plan would go. You see, before the gas stove, all the food I cooked, if they could be called cooking, that is, were mainly 'cold' foods. You know, fresh fruit salads, instant noodles or cooked rice with eggs. But ever since my Wife repaired the gas stove, the things became different.

We can now stir-fry stuff!

Anyway, coming back to the Salad, I am going to stir-fry some brinjals with garlic and onions for the Salad. Its a simple matter of frying the garlic until fragrant, then add in the onions and the brinjals. But then comes the problem as they will still come out tasting bland. Which is not a problem for me since the Salad will have mayonnaise anyway. Or so I thought. In a flash,  I was thinking, 'Hey, how about making a hot Salad?'

And so, I scooped up a TABLESPOON of the SUPER HOT CHILI and into the frying pan.

I mean, I wanted to add in a tablespoon of mayonnaise but itchy finger 'ol me decided to do the old switcheroo at the last micro second because, hey, the brinjals stlll tasted bland. And so, now I have a Super Hot Salad for the next few days, which I hope, I don't fart fire for the next few days...

I got this huge and dangerous looking slicer for RM3.99. If you look closely, there are two blades in there. I did not notice that since I was happily slicing the carrots until AFTER I washed it.

This is the Super Hot Chili Sauce. Trust me on this: A half teaspoon can already set your tongue on fire.
And me? Me scoopzd one da big TABLESPOON into the frying pan...

So, the ingredients are: Carrots, Cucumbers, Honey Dates, sesame seed, brinjals fried with garlic, onions and chili sauce. No  point adding in anything more since the chilli sauce is all you can taste now.

Last minute addition: An Apple and sprinkled some Maggi Cukup Rasa
OK, it's been in the fridge for more than a hour now and I have tested it on a piece of cracker. I can taste the individual ingredient and it quite good. But hiding in the background is the chili. So, don't chortle, choke or even laugh as it will take that opportunity to burn your throat. Already the tip of my tongue is starting to have that tingly burning feeling sensation and oh, now its the lips too.... Its going to double up as an excellent pasta sauce on a boring night or even, for a bland soup!

If it lasts that long, that is. I just caught myself sneaking for another bite from the fridge...

26032016 Sup Bunjut

Today is the day I am going to make.. Sup Bunjut!

This is a sort of a Spice Soup where spices were wrapped in a white cloth and dropped into the pot of water filed with chicken meat or beef. My Wife got this for me at the nearby shops and the brand was Adabi

Anyway, her instructions were very simple. You boil the water with with the sup bunjut pack for 10 minutes in high heat, then add in the potatoes and carrots and let them cook in medium heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off and wait. After that, add in the chicken and let it cook in low heat for 20 minutes.

There. Simple.

Everything went fine until at the last stage, I realised I forgot to put in that soup pack. So, I had to start again by bringing in fresh water and let it boil with the soup pack. Once that was done, I added back the earlier carrots/potatoes soup back in before going for the last step.

The 1 hour soup took more than two hours and by that time, I have missed lunch. Which means this will be for dinner. All the time, I was hungry and pissed for missing out that crucial step.

Due to some miscommunication, I missed this morning's Van to the market. So, it was the 15 minutes walk to Everise for my groceries. Since I was there too early, I decided to buy whatever I could and also had my breakfast there

And so, this is another experiment for me, cooking via WhatsApp...

Missed one step and so, I'm restarting again, by boiling that small packet for 10 minutes and then, slowly add in the earlier soup. Luckily, I did not pour them away as most of the ingredients have been absorbed into the earlier soup. If I did, the disaster would be even worse.

And so, I let it boil. And I let it boil. And I let it boil some more.
OK, so I was busy with communicating with everyone today, which made me forgot about the soup...

In the end, the water evaporated well, I got a nice soup (I think) and tonight, add in a half teaspoon of salt, it should be OK.

24032016 The Lights of me Lamp

As my mood changes, so does the my sensitivity towards lighting. Being slightly depressed and also pressured, I need the lighting to be muted. The only thing that can do this would be to shine a table lamp towards the ceiling. This creates a very nice diffused or muted ambiance which I craving am now.

However, tempted as I may, I did not want to buy a table lamp as they're too 'short' or had small shades which stops it from spreading light into a larger area. And so I had this stupid idea of creating my own lamp, using large metallic dish or wok as reflectors. However, the challenge was on how to secure these large and heavy objects on to the existing lamp. In the end, the solution presented itself in the form of an IKEA Melodi lamp. How IKEA stuff came to Kuching without an IKEA store, is another story. And with one custom made plastic ring, courtesy of the Utility Department, my Lamp is done!

This is how my room looked like in February with a 15Watt

By pure luck, I found a shop which sells this E27 extender when I was looking  for some parts to make a new 'lamp'.

This was how the room looked with the bulb extender and the 18Watt lamp. It's too bright to me but when my Wife came  over, they said it was OK.

Everynight, I tell you. Everynight this was how the ceiling looked. Well, not really as I needed to tone down the exposure to get this pattern

Then I got the Utility Department to help create a large 3" washer from some 5mm plastic scrap

And sliding it into the IKEA (Yes, IKEA. IN Kuching) Melodi lamp  shade, my new lamp is now ready!

This was how the room looked with the new 18Watt bulb after I removed the extender as I could not stand the harsh lighting. The reflector from the bulb casts a very harsh shadow line on the curtains and walls.

And now, the light seemed softer, bright but softer. This  is the best I can get for now, without having to break the wallet or the ceiling...
One day, I'll need to look for a very large draft/tracing paper to diffuse the bottom of the shade

21032016 Who is Vinnfier?

Last weekend, I had the chance to go to One TJ, which is sort of like a Low Yatt Plaza for IT related products. Or maybe, I should call it Imbi Plaza. Or a few IT shops.... It's quite hard to look for real IT stuff over here in Kuching as I was so used to going to places such as PJ's Digital Mall or Low Yatt in KL where all the IT stuff you ever wanted were placed in under one roof. And just like Low Yatt, there was also a shop which caters for Gunpla; Heng Kim Trading. But that's for another post.

Anyway, due to my Job at the moment, building a PC from scratch is out of the question since I would probably have no idea on the specs as I am so out of touch since the late 90's. All I know is, it must be compact and have an ASUS motherboard. Then I got lost in their motherboard catalogue... After that, there is this annoying logic of what should I do with it once its built, etc. To be honest, right now, I just wanted a decent sound system that has at least a Bluetooth Connection with a very nice Sub. And radio is optional. During my time, the one I would look for would be Altec Lansing,which unfortunately, was not so 'hot' here. Which could explain the non-existence of their products on the shelves.

So, after looking at the shops, there was this brand which kept popping up at the shelves: Vinnfier. I know its a local brand but to be able to come up with a lot of designs also made me sceptical. At best, they could just be rebadged units from China. I have already selected two models which has their Pros and Cons and well, as usual, the price differences, which would be the determining factor. If I can just let go about the Radio, the Ultra 6 looks good...

RM219.00  Xenon 8 BTR (Sub 34W RMS, 12W RMS, 12W RMS)
3.5mm, USB, SD Card, Bluetooth, Remote, Radio OCL Amp(huh?)

RM399.00 Ultra 6 BTU (Sub 70W RMS,15W RMS, 15W RMS)
3.5mm, USB, SD Card, Bluetooth, Remote

And so, when I was looking for furhter information...

Vinnfier Ripping Off Boombox?

19032016 Salad (or just put everything in...)

I love salads especially Coleslaws but for the moment, this will have to do. Salad are great for when I am too tired or feeling lazy to cook at the end of the day. Weeks ago, my basic salad was just a combination of fruits such as pears and apples, followed with cucumbers, carrots, corn, onions and crunchy chicken floss.

Then, I discovered honey dates which provided the sweetness

Then my Wife repaired the Gas Stove, which means I could fry stuff.

Carrots, cucumber, corn, chicken floss, pears, apple, honey dates. Followed with brinjals fried with garlic and onions.

Mix with one tablespoon of mayonnaise if you have those Kewpie Sauces, that will be great as well. Toss again and keep it in a fridge overnight. This is for the crunchy chicken floss to soak up some of the juice in the salad. I like it this way but others prefer the chicken floss to be added in before serving.
Next, maybe I'll buy a slicer and do some Coleslaw but if possible, I prefer to get them from Marrybrowns or KFC and then work from there. However, both are not within walking distance from where I live. I have crossed Sugarbun out as their price for was horrendously expensive.
RM5.20 for a Large Coleslaw. Even KFC and Marrybrown were much more generous

18032016 My very Fiirst Curry in Kuching

I could not remember when was the last time I've actually cooked curry but I do know it was during my Uni times where my room mate from Mauritius taught me. My late Mom did teach me too but as time goes by, and with the missing recipe notebook, my Wife did all the cooking instead.

So, for tonight, I will try to remember what I did. Before I WhatsApp my Wife for help. One good thing about cooking for yourself is that if I made a boo-boo, I'll have to eat that failure myself.

Fry the garlic first followed with the onions and as soon at they smell good, put the marinated chicken in.

Add about three bowls of water, let it simmer for some time. Then Curry packet and let its simmer some more. Once I saw the small bubbles, I added in the long beans, brinjals and carrots.

And let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so

Update: 19032016
The next day, I divided the curry into a few boxes for later

Yep, this would set me up for about 5 meals or so.

17032016 I will not be lonely again Pt.3

On the Eve before they're to go back, my MD rushed back and wanted to have dinner with us. And so, we were driven to Korean Goong at 101 Premier. They  had chosen this place because I kept looking for the Chicken wings for the the girls to try the day before.

Panoramic shot (L-R): The girls, my Wife, my Boss Mr. Chua, our MD Ms. Isabel and her PA, Elsa.

Dinner was good but a little long since we had to wait an hour for the chicken wings to arrive.
What's great was that they even hand delivered it to us since its quite a distance away from the Restaurant

At first, they were sceptical but after just one bite...

And so, on the next day, its time for them to leave Kuching. I know its a very short week since this was the First Term Holidays. But hours after leaving, I started to feel numb and went into automatic mode...

13032016 I will not be lonely again Pt.2

For the second day, it was more towards sight-seeing but since time is limited and we're still not familiar with Kuching, Fort Margherita was the best choice, which was just across the Sarawak River from where we were yesterday. We also planned to go to The Spring for more marketing and also, Kam Pua Noodles for a friend of mine. Other attempts to go for botanic gardens ended up with me turning in to a beautiful cemetery. But first, its off to Stutong Wet Market, the place I always went for my weekly marketing.

Breakfast was Cup Noodles which the girls bought last night.

And some Barbie animation to go with them

Mommy teaching the girls (and me) how to select and order chicken

Buying some 'lo bak kou' which the girls liked

Stutong Wet Market Fresh vegetable section

Stutong Wet Market Fresh Fruit section

We're going to have more vegetables for meals!

This is the stall I always go to, for my papayas. Here. Mommy teaching Kaelynn (out  of shot) on the different varieties of bananas

Tomato Mee tastes quite nice. It's spicy and think, used deep fried crispy kolo mee.

Kristine and her Char Kuey Teow, which compared to KL, was less oily, and not so dark. In a sense, its less aggressive on the taste buds and leaves them feeling light

Kaelynn with her real Kuching Kolo Mee

My 'drink', which is Kapit' ng. Its not very sweet nor has any flavour but then, since I ordered it...
Still, its good.

Anyway, Mommy ordered the Char Koay Kak, which is again, Kristine's favourite. Its quite nice and light and again, just unlike the ones in KL, you can actually taste the carrot cake itself while the flavourings stayed in the background. Amazingly, although its past 1200, most of the stalls were still open. Its  the same with the Wet Market below but everyone is slowly starting to close for the day.

Fort Margherita, of English design which overlooked and protected the Sarawak River

The actual Fort as realised in scale model

We were quite late coming into this attraction as you can see the staff is already closing the Doors

A few minutes into the drive, the girls were already tired. This was the shot I took when we reached Ta Kiong at The Spring.

Sad news for Kam Pua Noodle lovers out there, esp. Jeffrey as the whole shelf is gone. Even the staff at Ta Kiong is unsure when it will be restocked. No  one else bought the ones above.

We were still waiting for our 'change'. Nervous staff punched in the wrong amount...
But it would be great if they honoured  it. Heh heh.

Showed Krsitine the metal bottle Coke. After she aw the price, it was back to the shelf.
She did this due to her realisation and not by my telling her to.

Then it was back for a quick swim in the pool and we only had 10 minutes before it closes. The Sun went down pretty fast and I had to use low light setting.

Simple meal of noodles Kam Pua style with some vegetables

Strangely,  they sat down to watch Back to the Future for minutes...
And so, it was a very enjoyable and eye-opening day for all of us. Not only that, I had to keep reminding the girls to try and taste every food even though its available back home. This are very different here and sometimes, they might even surprise everyone.