Happy Birthday, Mummy dearest!

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Family, Feel-Good, Nostalgia

M” is for the million things she gave me,

O” means only that she’s growing old,

T” is for the tears she shed to save me,

H” is for her heart of purest gold,

E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,

R” means right, and right she’ll always be,

Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER”,

A word that means the world to me.

Howard Johnson

I call her by many names: Mummy, Mother, Mum, Mumsie, Tina, but she’s one and the same special person in my life.

By the way, it is not my mother’s birthday today. It was not a belated birthday greeting either, but rather, the post is late (sorry!)

I must admit that this year had been, undoubtedly, a very special year for me. My mother visited us in Belgium. It has been 13 years since her last visit and what appropriate timing at that! It was the school summer holidays and my mother’s birthday fell in between. Perfect timing!

I remembered the times we had when celebrating my mother’s birthday(s) in Kuching.  We were never short of fun, laughter and noises!!  With all her 6 children (and spouses) and 11 grandchildren around to celebrate, well, that could only sum up to a hell lot of decibels! Frankly speaking, I miss all that 😀

The birthday we had for my mother this year was more calm and low-pitched. I would like to walk you through that very special day.

Wednesday, 25th August, 2010.

Everyone woke up early that morning to wish mother the classic greeting of “Happy Birthday, mummy” and “Happy Birthday, Ah Ma”.

We had a rather simple, light breakfast that morning, as I warned those present that we would be stuffed at lunch time until the end of the day!

Mum put on one of her best outfits that day, smiling gleefully, and all set to go.

We were the first to arrive at the restaurant, De Wiering, in Leuven. I had earlier made a reservation for 5 people at 12 noon. The Flemish brasserie restaurant may not have the most stunning front façade. If you remember the English idiom, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, De Wiering befits the metaphorical phrase almost perfectly.

As we walked through the entrance hall, we heard the chants of old cloister music. Sounds weird?  Wait until you hear this. As soon as we walked through the hallway into the restaurant, we felt the charm of the renaissance period.  With the aged deco’s of vintage collections of smoking pipes, accordions and clogs, you certainly would want to acquaint yourself with the place a bit more.

By the way, if you’re expecting the latest culinary experience and fancy designer tables and chairs, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place!

Someone commented this on TripAdvisor, “If Pieter Brueghel (the Elder) has his own restaurant, it would be De Wiering. Flemish food, Belgian beers in a warm set up”. Unquote.  How true…

That was one of the main reasons I brought my mother to this brasserie restaurant, id est to have a taste of Belgium 😀

Here’s one for a start. Kriek (Lambic cherry beer, brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium).

I am very sure I have added two very satisfying customers – my mother and sister – onto the Kriek fan list 😀

Then came the soup. The fresh seasonal vegetable soup was simply divine.

I was quite certain that the soup included the following ingredients: courgette, broccoli, peas and carrot with hints of parsley, fennel and celeriac, all blended together with a generous sprinkle of grated gruyère and then finished off in a broiler until the cheese was lightly melting.  Yummy!

De Wiering is well-known for her oven-baked spareribs. My mother had hers done ‘op de wijze van de chef ‘ or simply, oven-baked spareribs à la chef’s secret recipe. Hmmm…. intriguing, if you asked me.

I agree that it was not the daintiest looking dish, but at least somebody was not complaining, eh?

After licking our platters, or rather, wooden plateaus clean, and gaining some kilos, we stretched our legs by taking a stroll along the Brusselsestraat, and, hey presto, the back façade of De Wiering actually looks quite charming, don’t you think?

Our next stop was The foodmaker. What better way to stop there for a coffee break.  Mum had freshly brewed  caffè latte, or Café au lait

And the result was written all over her face.  Yep, one satisfied customer 😉


On our way back home, we stopped over at Stonemanor, a British Store located at Everberg. With our Malaysian roots, we are more familiar with British products, like Spam, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, Horlicks, Marmite, Mint sauce, Cheddar cheese and Bagels!  So, yes, it was a big relief for my mother to experience Great Britain in small town Everberg!

Our final pit stop was at a bakery. You got it!  A birthday is simply not complete without a birthday cake.

But I must admit that it was a tall order, because my mother is not much of a cake person ;-( .  My sister told me that there is one type of cake that she would want to eat.  And here it is….

Hmmmm….. a difficult one to resist!

The day ended with my mother opening some of her birthday presents….


And by the way, I made mum’s kek pasir rubuh (ref Birthday Treat(s)….sequel), a day after her birthday.  This piece was specially for mummy dearest 😀

Happy Birthday, mum!

I’m afraid all good things must come to an end 😦 …. but I shall end it with a memorable touch.  This is one of my favourite songs and Il Divo did it so well. It gives  me goose bumps each time I listened to it.  I’m sure you’ll like it. I’m sure anyone will love this song.  Just listen to it until the end and you’ll know what I’m getting at.

Hugs and take care xxx

  1. Pai Sii says:

    Your Mommie is sooo cute! Happy Belated Birthday, Aunty!!! *waves to Aunty*

    Hmm, did that Brit store have Maggi Mee by any chance? 😉

  2. dada says:

    wonderful writeup che. It brings memory back in deed. We love evry moment of it. Thanks che.

  3. Dada says:

    Wonderful write up. Brings back memories. Missing those moments. We’ll definitely do it again, perhaps next year, different country I reckoned. ;-P

  4. Nasifriet says:

    I remember seeing Maggi seasoning, but Maggi mee, not sure. I know they have a few varieties of instant noodles, though… but pricier than the local supermarkets, so suggest that you stick to the Asian stores for such products. I like the curry pastes there, like Madras and Garam Masala. More authentic ‘cos they are produced / packed by the Brits Indians. Did you know that Curry is the #1 dish in Scotland (or some parts of Scotland)?

  5. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Da. Indeed, it brought back memories, isn’t it? Instead of stashing away all the pics of our summer hols, I’d rather archive them this way, so whenever I want to go down memory lane, I’d just browse thru some of my write-ups 😉

  6. Nasifriet says:

    You’re right. For us, this was the 5th time we holiday’d in mid to south of France… guess, we’ve seen enough. Shud visit another country(-ies) 😀 But our Austrian trip was memorable, too innit? My kids were still small then…

  7. Nasifriet says:

    Oh I see that now. You are a thursday child…far to go 😀 How true!

  8. Wonderful story of you and your mum. Happy belated birthday to her!

  9. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Nate!
    Will convey your msg to her 🙂

  10. Sandy says:

    Another lovely write-up! A belated birthday greetings to your mum.


  11. Better stick to "A" says:

    I would kill for Maggi Assam Laksa. My colleague says he saw it in UK. I’ve scoured the Asian stores in Antwerp and Brussel and even that day while in Amsterdam – Nadai! Garam Masala and Madras Curry adalah…

    Wow I didn’t know Curry was Scot’s #1 dish, I only found out a coupla years ago that Tikka Masala is UK’s national dish…

    And about that Child of everyday thing, can u pls refresh my memory on the other days’ Child’s traits? Was there one full of grace and another one naughty or something. I recall having a nursery rhyme book with illustrations for the different days’ Child.

    Muchas Gracias, Nasifriet!

  12. Jenny says:

    Your mum is adorable. What a lucky family you are to have each other. Please send her my best wishes and happy belated birthday greetings!

  13. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Jenny. Msg conveyed and I can tell you this : she’s one very happy mum 😀

  14. Nasifriet says:

    I know what u meant by the Maggi Assam Laksa. My sis brought some packets during her last visit and they’re finished within a week!! LOL! Even the curry flavour tastes diff than the ones we have at the Asian stores. The made in M’sia Maggi curry flavour has more umph!

    Here’s the full poem: –

    Monday’s child is fair of face,
    Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
    Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
    Thursday’s child has far to go,
    Friday’s child is loving and giving,
    Saturday’s child works hard for his/ her living,
    And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
    Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay (er….the “gay” here has a totally different meaning ok 😀 ).

    BTW bonny means physically attractive and blithe means “carefree”…….. English zaman dolok bah…..

  15. A was born Friday! says:

    Can u believe? I googled up my birthdate and apparently I was born on a Friday! Somehow my mum wrote on my birth cert : Thursday and 4++am! I guess she went into labor on Thurs night but I was technically born on Fri!
    High five!!!!

  16. Aileen says:

    Hi Dora

    so interesting, your mom’s looking great, where’s photo of your sis… imelda, you and the kids … i love your blog … nice reading..

  17. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Aileen

    Pics of my sis will come…As for me, er…I prefer to stand behind the camera than be the “object” :-D. Anyway, me the kids and hubby are on this post, on one of the photos…. 😉 Found it?

    BTW, Aileen, great to be in touch again and Welcome to the blog 😀

  18. […] wish I was there to celebrate your birthday, Mum! Two years ago, you had a Belgian Birthday Bash. This year, you’re miles and miles away from us, but, the images captured on camera were a joy to […]

  19. […] years ago, Mum had a Belgian birthday but this year, we went […]

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