It was a Friday morning, I could not believe the whatapp message my sister posted in our family group chat was true. Our second uncle had just passed away. How could it be? I last saw him during Chinese New Year, he was well. There were no news about him being sick or whatsoever.
After a few calls with my aunt and mother, too bad the message was true. Uncle had left us at 6am on 24th July 2015. All of us were grief stricken with his sudden passing. He was our truly uncle since young.
Growing up in the 80s, our only family outings with my parents were family dinners on Sunday nights. While other kids in school might have outstation family trip during holiday, we were enjoying at our own ways with various childhood games in the neighborhood.
Nonetheless, our late uncle did give us more joy. His light blue lorry was very much our Alphard SUV. We just climbed up to his loading bay and enjoyed our windy trip to the public swimming pool. Our zoo trip with uncle was a reminiscence of the fun and enjoyment. It was the only zoo trip with my siblings and of course, my beloved cousins. Uncle brought along his camera. Those photos captured were among the few we have of our childhood memory.
Uncle was a supportive brother to his siblings as well.Year after year, he never failed to help in my parents’ provision shop during our peak season before CNY.
He was also a faithful husband, a devoted father, a filial son.
May our great uncle rest in peace.
Back in 1978, my parents who were newly married open a shop name “Lucky Trading” in the small town of Malacca. In Chinese, it was called 好运, just like the English name itself, meaning “Good Luck”. They sold their home to begin this business venture. They had basically placed all eggs into one nest. What they needed was definitely needed more than luck.
Before this venture, my father was doing the business in his little van, by shipping the goods from town to rural area, while his wife Wa Yok, was supporting him at home. Other than the general role of a home-maker, mom supported the business well from home. While babysitting my eldest sister, who was then a new born baby and the house chores, my mother managed to do the packaging of the snacks and preserved fruits for my father’s business.
The opening of the shop was indeed a significant business expansion. Other than the existing business in the rural area, they could now have another stream of income from the retail business. Nonetheless the humble shop functioned well as a multi purpose real estate property.
The front of the shop was meant for their retail business at day time, and a parking bay at night. Dad would dove in his van when the shop was closed, and my parents would arrange the inventories neatly in the vehicle for the next day business in the rural district.
Other than that, there were a bed room and kitchen-cum-living room at the back of the shop where our small humble family lived in. My parents only had my 2 elder sisters at toddlers age. Though the family grew significantly bigger (four of us arrived) in coming years, they continued to live in till year 1994 when the my parents bought a small house nearby for us to live.
We all know well that having pork belly is sinful, but somehow it is simple irresistible. I got the recipe of this dish from Wendy.
As preparing braised pork belly takes up longer cooking time, I usually cook a little more.
I cut the pork belly into big cubes like the one shown below. I used 3 strips of pork belly which is around 800gm. The pork appears to be little whitish after blanching with boiling water.
Other than the pork belly, below are the aromatics you need. Spring onion, dried chilies, garlic, ginger, szechuan peppercorn.
On a working weekday, there is no ground for us with toy the idea of having those soup that take more then one hour to prepare (老火汤). Nonetheless, you do deserve a bowl of hot soup after a long day of work. If you have never fail to prepare instant mee, trust me you can’t go wrong with this simple tomato soup.
The ingredients you need are rather simple. I have added a little bit of ground pork here. Take note that it is absolutely optional. The main ingredients are merely dried scallops, tomato and 1 egg. Sound ridiculous? Dear, it is easy as pie and really effortless to make.
Take note that this soup is best taken instantly after you add the egg.
I first came to know about the place Venice from my boyfriend-now-hubby. He mentioned to me that it is his wish to bring his future wife for honeymoon to this romantic place before I become his girlfriend and eventually wife. When we were planning for wedding, all our financial budget went to the renovation cost pool for our new home, and we didn’t go to Venice.
Five years later, with the blessing of my youngest sister, I was fortunate to visit this scenic place. My youngest sister was having her convocation in Edinburgh (UK) and I was chosen as the family representative her graduation. We scheduled an Europe tour, and the first stop was Venice.
I flew there alone from Penang, to meet up with her the water city, Venice.
This is the view captured before landing in Venice. Isn’t it breathtaking?
The Calatrava bridge.
The continental breakfast served in our room by the hotel.
A view from the window. I have never seen so many chimneys.
~To Be Continued~
The idea of driving out for the sole purpose of lunch during weekend has always turn me off, especially when the weather is hot, and most of the time, it is hot. Unless I have errands to run, I would usually prefer to settle our lunch with something simple at home. My definition of something simple means “simple ingredients, straight forward cooking method, settled within +- 20 min”.
I once tried Hakka Mee in Ying Ker Lou in Pavilion KL, a fine dining restaurant which serves authentic Hakka cuisine. This little soupy noodles served is so simple and yet yummy. As usual, I hunt for the recipe in the WWW after trying, and my search was fruitful with the finding of Lily’s sharing. I have adapted her recipe to the version below.
I use the noodles as as pictured below. A big pack like this only costs me a humble RM4.
As I promised, other than the noodles, below are all the ingredients you need. Ground pork, chopped garlic, spring onion, fish sauce and a teaspoon of pepper. No, I didn’t miss up the oil, it is not even required dear. If you find this complicated, I would suggest you to give up the idea of home cooking. Be reminded that having instant noodles is not a solution.
If you are familiar with Asian cooking, you know it well that spring onion is one of the most common ingredients used. It is low in cost, and never fail to spice up the aroma of the dishes prepared. The only nuisance linked to this is the duration it can be stored in fridge. Unlike cabbage or other more durable vegetables, it is not easy to maintain its freshness. Thanks to Wendy’s sharing, by just trimming it and storing it in covered tupperware in fridge, you can store it up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Please do not grumble as you have one less excuse for home cooking. 🙂
~Happy Cooking and I wish you a beautiful Saturday~
The cooking style with egg gravy (滑蛋) is always a favourite among Chinese, especially the Cantonese. I was always wondering how is the smooth gravy is prepared. My midst are cleared upon watching a cooking video by a famous Taiwanese Chef 阿基师 on youtube. The quick and sharp chopping skill of this chef is really admirable. Master Qi (阿基哥) is always known for his professional ethics, friendly image and sincerity. He is very articulate in his speech and often share secret cooking skills in his shows.
This is one of my favourite working days dishes or weekend lunch. It is a one-dish meal, less demanding in term preparation time.
The ingredients used are really simple, basically the seasoning used are corn flour, chicken cube and fish sauce. Unlike oyster sauce or sesame oil, fish sauce is not quite commonly used in Chinese cooking. It is easy to have more then half of bottle of it expiring on your shelf. The small bottle by Ferry brand is a good solution to avoid food wastage. I got it from a Jusco supermart at RM1.70 only.
I have always wondering how the cooked cauliflower and broccoli served in restaurants appear to be so beautiful and sharp in colour. The recipe shared by Steamy Kitchen clear my midst. The secret to maintain the colours lies in the cooking method. There vegetables just need to be briefly boiled and not stir-fried. A colourful vegetable dish would never fail to spice up the diners.
Having a pork trotter (猪手) dish during CNY is one of the many traditions inherited from the past. This is the case because it symbolises great fortune to come. During CNY celebrations, I have always been prudent in my planning.
If you are not familiar with cooking pork trotter, take note that there is a difference between “Pork Hand” (猪手) and “Pork Leg” (猪脚). Pork hand refers to the fronts legs, and is more meaty and thus more suitable for this dish. Pork leg is usually used for soup.
There are many versions of cooking pork trotter. I got this recipe from a CNY cook book. It turned me down initially because of the need to pre-fry the pork trotter. I once tried skipping the deep frying step, and the texture of the pork trotter did not turn out good. It is best to follow all the procedures listed.
Yes, I heard you. There is so much to do during CNY, and cooking this dish certainly too time-consuming during the festive season. No worries dear, you can always prepare this in advance and freeze it till the festive season. Pork dishes generally become more tasty after freezing overnight. I use to prepare it one week before CNY.
~Gong Xi Fa Cai~
My grandma has been preparing this dish for most praying occasions since ages ago, such as the decease anniversary of our ancestors, or CNY eve. There is never a change to the cooking method. Nevertheless, all of us do like it though. During the younger days, having a prawn dish is always a luxury. Kids like us would be so excited when there was a prawns dish. Complaining about the repeated cooking method never cross our mind as we could not even wait to finish the hot and spicy prawns after prayers.
Beware that the chilli sauce used is different from the ordinary chilli sauce, but something like the one shown in the photo above. You can sauce it in local hypermarket or grocery shop.