Friday, September 29, 2017

Apa bagus? Asparagus!

Somehow this incident stuck in my head for a very long time. I used to follow my mum to wet market during the school and college days.  We walked from our house to the market.  It took us about 15 to 20 minutes walk.  I enjoyed the early morning walk with my mum back then.

There was one time while we were looking at the vegetables from one stall to another, we overheard a Malay lady asked a seller, "Apa bagus ini?" and the seller replied, "This is asparagus!  Not apa bagus!" So, the name ''asparagus'' has been stuck in my mind since then.  Of course, back then I had never tasted asparagus.  My family hardly eat it.  And it wasn't (and still) that cheap and not everyone could afford to buy and eat it.

Forward to many years later, I saw my father-in-law was preparing asparagus one day for dinner.  He was busy peeling the skin off.  He peeled every inch of the skin up to the flower tip. And he simply cooked it with garlic and salt.  Nothing else.  And that was my first time tasted asparagus.  My first thought was it was sweet, crunchy and tasty.  Nothing like leeks, or onion flower or anything at all.  That was what I thought of the taste of asparagus till I really tasted it!!
So, since then, I fell in love with this edible shoot! And one evening, hubby bought a pack of asparagus for me to cook.  200g for over RM11.  Ok lah, considering we never had asparagus on the dining table till that evening.  Lol!
Stir-fried asparagus (Chinese style)

200g asparagus
Slices of carrot
few white bunashimeji mushrooms(or substitute with Shitake mushrooms)
few cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, sliced
few slices of chicken breast, marinated with oyster sauce, Shao Xing wine, pepper, salt, sesame oil

1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp. Shao Xing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
8 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp cornstarch

1. Prepare the vegetable.  Chop off about an inch off the bottom of the asparagus.  Peel the skin off as the bottom part could be tough.  Slice asparagus into about 2 inch length. Wash the mushrooms and tear them into half.
2. Marinate the chicken breast for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
3. In a wok, add about 3 tbsp. cooking oil.  Once heated, toss in the garlic and shallot.  Saute till fragrant.
4. Add in the chicken.  Saute till the meat turned white.  Add in the carrot slices and mushrooms.  Toss and cook for a minute or so. 
5. Add in the asparagus.  Stir fried for a minute before add in the sauces.
6. Cook till the sauces thicken and asparagus has cooked and soften.  Dish out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy auntie

There is this small coffee shop in Batu Kawah New Township that we have never gone to. Located next to SuperWash, a 24-hours coin laundry service (the row of shop behind KFC) named Happy Auntie Kopitiam. 

One Sunday we felt adventurous so we decided to drop by and try out the food here. We were bored of the usual places so it was time to try new one. 

Surprisingly Happy Auntie Kopitiam was clean. Only 5 stalls, all managed by old aunties but each stall serves more than one dish. So there was actually a lot of choices for everyone.

And that was not the only surprise for us. We found out that the lady who managed the shop was someone we knew. A lady who used to operate kolo mee stall elsewhere but now she is taking over this coffee shop from her mother-in-law, the so-called happy auntie (our guess). The name and business remain the same.  She has been managing this coffee shop for over 2 years now! 

So we sat down and ordered our breakfast. Hubby had this bak cheng mee suah from this stall.

Bak cheng or pek ting eyok (8 herbs) chicken mee suah was very nourishing dish. Hubby's favourite.  His mom will cook for him whenever we go back to Kapit.

This bowl of blackish soup costs RM6.00. The soup was thick and full of herbs and flavours. But not my kind of dish for breakfast. I am a true Sarawakian and being one, I love my Sarawak laksa.

As we walked into the shop to get to our table, the smell of laksa broth lingered in the air. I would be too fool not to be tempted by the smell. Lol. So I had a normal bowl of Sarawak laksa (RM5.50) that morning.

Taste-wise, it was alright. But I tasted better elsewhere. Nevertheless this one served the purpose of satisfying my tastebuds.

The kids had kampua (RM3.00) from the same stall that serves laksa. Not complaint from the kids, so I guess the kampua was alright for them.

Off on every Monday.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Weekend Menu # 87 : Pasta & Salad

I love weekends because I don't really need to sweat much in the kitchen. 

Usually we would have our breakfasts between 9 to 10am so everyone would still too full to have proper lunch in the afternoon. So I would make us something light and sinple meal just to last us till dinner time.

One of the dishes I mostly make for our weekend lunch is salad. I love green salad. Salad is so versatile and easy. Not forgetting, healthy too. I also can add anything I want in it. 

So one Saturday, I prepared salad for lunch. Of course the kids don't really eat much salad so I would need to prepare another dish for them. Pasta is their favourite. Aglio e Olio for the kids.

There is some smoked cheese that hubby bought from Amsterdam in March. I love using smoked cheese in my pasta and salad. It gives that distinctive cheese taste and smell.

For my salad, I lightly grilled some chicken strips, halved 8 tomato cherries, boiled and cut 2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced half of cucumber and prepared the lettuces.

Arrange everything in a plate/bowl, then drizzle some olive oil and Kewpie roasted sesame dressing. Add some grated smoked cheese onto it and voila!! Mix well and dig in.

As for the pasta, here is the Aglio olio recipe.

My kids love this spaghetti especially with bacons but I ran out of bacons that day, so chicken sausages would do then. ^^

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fairy and wind

I always wanted to explore caves and let the children experience and learn something about our homeland.

Yesterday, we took a short drive to Bau for some caves exploration. Not only we get to visit 1 cave in Bau, but two at one go. The Fairy Cave and Wind Cave. It took us few hours to cover both caves.

Not very far from city centre, we started our drive from home around 1030am and reached our first cave, Fairy Cave before 1130am.  The fairy cave was all about climbing those steepy (wet and dark in one part of the cave) to the inner of the cave. But all the climbing worth it all when we reached the inner opening of the cave.
Staircases all the way to the mouth of the cave

Old staircases

The entrance of the cave

Can you spot batman??

Legend had it that the rock formation in the fairy cave resembled fairies, where as myth had it that the people that stayed in the cave was turned into rocks. Whatever it was, the cave was intriguing and mysterious in its own way.

After a good rest and a drink of fresh coconut juice at the bottom of the cave, we departed for our second cave exploration. The Wind Cave. Few minutes drive only.

Wind Cave was my favourite as more to explore, feel and see. A long passage in this nature reserve. We did stopped at the Sarawak river next to the Wind Cave before proceed to the Wind Cave.

Sarawak river

The trails of wind cave were well maintained. Some passages were pretty dark so we needed torchlights to see around. We managed to spot some lives in the cave with bats hanging up high on the cave roof and some were flying around.
Group of bats

The sink hole on the roof

More sink holes caused by bats

Staglamite and staglatite meet

Staglamite formation

Underground river


An opening after long walk in the dark

You could touch the wall if you jump high!

I cannot help but wonder back when the time man lived a mediocre life in the cave; unlike our current stressed, competitive and materialistic world! ^^ Imagine myself live in countryside or secluded place, not cave of course. Hmm.

Wind cave is interesting and has lots to discover about. The pinnacles, staglamites and staglatites. A snail fossil on the roof. Few species of bats include insect-eating bats and fruits-eating bats. The gushing wind blowing in the cave, and the underground stream where Sarawak river flows into.

We spent a good half day in the caves.  And it costs us only RM4 to explore both caves. A wonderful way to spend our holiday away from home.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the house

Rojak + Ais Kacang = yummy dessert

This place called Ah Kee Dessert is operating from the corner terrace house just before the Stapok Utara bridge (opposite of SJK CH No 6 primary school). Many reviews and recommendation on this home-based business but I had never checked it out till one day. It was not hard to spot the house as there is a small sign board saying "ABC". 

But on one afternoon when I felt like having ice kacang, it was closed. It was one of the afternoon over the one week school holiday last month when I dropped both Jan and Jay for their arts tuition.

No "ABC" sign hung out so I knew it was closed that day. The following week, I wanted to try again but again, I did not have the luck.  It was closed again! On a Monday. Oh well, never mind. I could always try again another day when I am passing by this house.

The lucky star was on my side the next day.  It was raining that day. It was the UPSR week.  Jan was sitting for her Pra-UPSR exam (Primary 5) so she did not have any afternoon school tuition or extra curriculum that week.  We were 3rd time lucky when we saw Ah Kee Dessert was opened when we were on the way to drop Jay at his arts tuition. So after sending Jay off, together with Jan and Jamie, we went over to the house for dessert.

There was a drizzle that afternoon so it was not too cold or stuffy to have some light bites there. The stall and seating were in the porch.

A friendly aunt was mending both stalls with the help from her daughter. No customers that time so I had a good chat with the friendly aunt while enjoying my dessert.

We ordered a small plate of rojak for sharing besides the ABC.

RM3.00 rojak

RM3.50 ABC

The shaved ice dessert was good; it was not too sweet although it looked like it. It was refreshing and refined with many goodies to be taken on any warm day.  There waa few longans, sweet corns, cincau, cendol, coloured sago and red beans for that extra texture and bites. Glad that I were sharing this dessert with Jan because I did not think I could finish it all by myself.

As for the rojak, the rojak paste was thick and tasty with generous topping of chopped nuts. If only they gave more rojak paste, it would be perfect for me but this was good enough.

Many other cold desserts to choose from. That would be another time, another day.

And yes, I did come back the following week. Could not resist the cold dessert and this time, I bought home a cup of ang tau peng (RM2.50) and big pack of rojak (RM5.00).

Check out their Facebook page or for direction and location, click here.

Address: Ah Kee Dessert, No 81, Jalan Stapok Utara 1, Taman Stapok, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak.

Operating hours : 1030am to 4pm daily except Monday (off)