The MasterChef in X, C and A… thanks girls :-D

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Food, Friends, Leisure
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Sunday, I invited some friends for a reunion lunch at my place. These friends are no ordinary friends. The first coincidence is that all 4 of us came from Kuching, went to the same school or in the vicinity, and moved to Belgium to be with our lo kung 😀 . The second coincidence is that some members of my family know the family of my girlfriends. What can I say?  We are living in a darn small world. LOL!

Our living abroad did not deter us in reliving the deeply rooted Malaysian tradition of communal dining, in other words, a potluck lunch!  We made this potluck lunch a wee bit different than the norm, as my friends had to exhibit the “cordon bleu” or the MasterChef in herself at nearly à la minute or at real time in my kitchen.

X’s Popiah

I knew X the longest. Believe you me, X and I went to the same school in Kuching and yet we did not know each other back then! I only got to know her a year or two after moving to Belgium, somewhere in 1996 or early 1997. We were being introduced by another Malaysian friend, who hailed from Penang! When I got to know X, I discovered that her uncles were my late dad’s buddies on the badminton court. Didn’t I say, it’s a small world after all?

Last Sunday, X volunteered to make popiah as our starter. No one seemed to have breakfast that Sunday morning, so you can imagine eleven hungry tummies at noon time. We were truly famished. Like vultures waiting for their prey.  LOL!

You know, X had always told us that she can’t cook. Oh yeah?  I have this to say, “still waters run deep on your cooking ability, X”! With a little bit of “push”, I’m pretty sure it has given you an extra boost to go beyond your hidden culinary skill. Your two guys have nothing but praises on your recent food display 😉

Ooops…..I realized that I had completely forgotten to take a picture of you in action, my dear friend.  The freshly rolled popiah came and went in the blink of an eye. To give the readers an idea how your popiah would have looked like, I kept some pictures of the popiah I made some time ago. The filling may be different, but what the heck, a popiah is a popiah is a popiah. Didn’t we lick our platters clean? They were great 😉

C’s Char Kway Teow

I met C at one of the festive events held at the residence of the Malaysian ambassador to Belgium. That was many moons ago. 2000? She had her firstborn at the time. It was funny how I got to know C.  It was via my younger sister, who was in Belgium for a visit. I brought my sister to the Malaysian event and I remembered my sister and C screaming out each others’ names in unison, “What are you doing in Belgium?!” OMG….another small world!

C has an aura of mystery surround her, whose love for globetrotting can only be our wishful thoughts. I can only exclaim: “Geez, how can you have so many vacation days in a year, my friend?” In her last trip to Burma (officially named Myanmar), she brought back with her 5 kg of Burmese garlic! I was wondering how she got through customs without a hitch. LOL!

C conjured a spectacular char kway teow feat in my Ken Hom’s wok, which kept wobbling incessantly on my infrared stove. Mmmmm….. woks should remain where they are best – on gas stove.

Gas stove or not, C managed to whip up an amazing plate of homemade char kway teow with the scented Burmese garlic à la minute, live in my kitchen! And oh yes, I didn’t mind humpty dumpty having a great fall on my kitchen floor. Ha ha ha!

A’s Teh Tarik, 3-layered tea and iced lemon tea

I was introduced to A via X, who happened to be connected to her by kinship, or through a marriage in their extended family.

By the way, I’m also connected to A through a marriage between her uncle and my aunt. Furthermore, A went to the same school with one of my cousins!  Isn’t that amazing?

A has a new title recently.  She’s called ‘mama’ less than 3 months ago.  A delivered her son on her own – literally speaking.  It was just amazing and chapeau to you, my dear! I sensed a super strong alliance between mother and son. KF is so adorable.

We all know A is a wonderful cook. I wasn’t expecting A to bring a potluck as I can understand it was not easy being a new mama for the first time. I know how it is, as I’ve gone through that stage. Whew….thank God, it’s over now for me 😀

Where there’s food, there’s got to be beverage. A handled that department pretty well. She churned out one type of tea beverage to another. I tried all the 3 types and they were great.  As I eat and drink almost anything, I appreciated what A had executed.

Oh by the way, A, forget about the jug.  I didn’t even know I had the jug until we moved house and started unpacking.  It has been un-noticed for more than a decade, anyway 😉

My turn

There were a few reasons why we met at my place.  We just moved house during the Christmas week last year, hence, the girls were curious, wanting to view our new house. Another reason was the potluck must include Sarawak’s signature dish,  the irresistible Sarawak Laksa. That’s right; yours truly had to accomplish the task. On top of that, I also made beef rendang, ngo hiang and bak kut teh.  Then of course, meeting  A’s newborn baby and finally, just to meet and speak the same language!

We accomplished our mission with no problem at all, except that A and C had to leave earlier than I had wanted them to.  The question then was; who’s going to start and finish the dessert?  Frankly speaking, we were pretty stuffed that day, and being Asians, desserts often take backstage. After all, I (just) bought a cake and some cookies, so girls, you didn’t miss anything  😉

The best transformed leftover lunch ever

I had some leftovers left of the ngo hiang to be recycled the next day, which I sliced at an angle, then I pan-fried them. This modified starter was a winner with the guys.

For the main course, I transformed the bak kut teh into lo bak kut, by adding some 5-spiced powder and boiled eggs. It was yummilicious for a re-cycled soup, I must say.

For dessert, I used the tea dust left by A and made a pot of teh tarik, served with some Delacre choc butter cookies. OMG…. what a sin 😛

Introducing the chefs

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest. It’s about who came, and never left your side….

Here’s a song to all my friends everywhere. Happy listening.

Cheers and take care!

For related posts, you may want to check out:  Murphy’s Law, or was it just…..? and Building Castles in the Sand

  1. gerard says:

    Beautiful posting Dora! Love every bits. Hello ladies! I’m Dora’s brother. I;m sure you all had a great time together.




  2. X says:

    Lovely article!!! Indeed a good reminder of our friendships and I had a great time last Sunday. Only regret is not having a bigger belly. Haha! And more time… We were busy preparing and eating that we didn’t have much time to chat.Wanted to ask C about her trip and A on motherhood… Next time!
    Thanks for the compliment on my cooking – don’t get it everyday :). I have 3 great advisors and C’s very detailed and visualised popiah recipe!
    D – love your transformations! And thanks for the organisation. Nice place you’ve got and next time we will play badminton in your garden – keeping the memories your dad and my uncles…

  3. Angel says:

    It was lovely – the food, the company and the house! If we ever get a proper house of our own in the future, we’ll do another one of these! Kudos to Dora for preparing such excellent food in such mass quantities!!!

  4. cynthiaweeC says:

    Gals, I hide the 5kg of garlic in my bra…. just kidding LOL!!!!


  5. Nasifriet says:

    Hey bro, thanks for passing by. Yeah we had a fantastic time, but time was ticking like a bomb and before we know, we had to say our “see you again”. Indeed FRANCE. Reminds me of schooldays….

  6. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, X. You’re right. We shd have more time to chat. Will cater food next time so we can just sit back, relax and chat from dawn til dusk… Can I have C’s popiah recipe? Pretty please? It looked gorgeous. Okey dokey, let’s play badminton the next time round 😀

  7. cynthiaweeC says:

    X, maybe I should blog about my trips… 😛 like the millions of bloggers out there.

  8. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, my dear! Will do this again for sure. Which reminds me, we have to meet in the next weeks. Need to pass you your nurshing top!

  9. Nasifriet says:

    LOL! Then you should have brought the jugs over! Hahaha… will pass u bak kut teh recipe by email. Just asked X for your popiah recipe. Will post rendang recipe later in my blog..

  10. Nasifriet says:

    Hey, you should lah. Give us ideas and recommendations. At least I know now, where to get good garlics 😀

  11. Chris says:

    Love the post and enjoyed the pics. How I envy you ladies your friendship. It’s truly precious what you all have together. I don’t even know a single Malaysian where I live…mmm…maybe I have to move. 😀 BTW, all the food pics got me drooling again! 😀

  12. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Chris. Don’t you have a Malaysian/ Asian get-together or sth like that in your state? I didn’t know any single Malaysian when I moved to Belgium the first yr, but since I registered myself at the M’sian embassy (Belgium), we were invited to lots of the festive events, and the rest is history… but then again, I’d love to have you as my neighbour, anytime. So when are you moving next door? Hahaha !

    Oh BTW, great news. I received the package this morning!!! Thank YOU so much, Chris. Then there’s no excuse, eh? I HAVE to bake those cakes you posted…. Will blog about this, soon…cheers

  13. X says:

    Don’t forget to share the bak kut teh recipe with me too! Will email to you C popiah recipe.
    C, next time wear the bra when we meet up! LOL!

  14. X says:

    C, please do! Very keen in Myanmar 🙂

  15. X says:

    N your garden is big enough to play badminton 🙂

  16. Nasifriet says:

    Will email u & C the bak kut teh recipe..

  17. Nasifriet says:

    Will get smaller with the addition of a veranda coming up next… 🙂

  18. cynthiaweeC says:

    No hurry … first I have to get a slow pot apparently (thanks for convincing my guy to buy one)….we Msians love to make our partners/spouse carry stuff … hee hee hee hee

    X, I lend u my bra for next trip to Msia so u can stuff as much laksa liaw in there LOL


  19. Nasifriet says:

    Ah.. you’re going back only in Aug, right? The BKT can be cooked in ordinary pot as well, but of course it tastes much better in crock pot AND it makes life a whole lot easier.

    LOL on your wonderbra 😀

  20. Chris says:

    Hi Nasifriet,

    We don’t have a M’sian embassy in my state (the nearest one would be in NYC or D.C.) …so no special events or anything over here. Back during college days, there used to be a pretty big M’sian population here but that’s no longer the case and since I’m no longer a college student as well, I don’t have access to any Malaysian group in any college (if there’s even any). Oh well…what to do, right?

    I’m so glad you got the package already. Wow! That was really fast. Hope the cups will come in handy. 😀 Quick tip on the way I measure flours – I spoon the flour into the cup and then, level the cup with a knife. There seem to be so many different ways people measure the flour and the type of method used can make a big difference in the end result. HTH 😀

  21. Chris says:

    You’ll be the first to know if hubby ever gets a job in your area. 😀 I always think about moving to an area where there’s more Asians but for now, we’re pretty down here because of hubby’s work.

  22. Chris says:

    LOL…I mean tied down here…missing a word…am thinking it’s time to get off the computer. 😀

  23. Nasifriet says:

    Oh yes, same here actually. The Embassies are normally located in the capital city or bigger cities. In Belgium, it’s located in Brussels. Since Belgium is such a teeny weeny country, Brussels is not so far from where we live 🙂

    Then I don’t envy you, Chris… it’s OK the first years, but it’s good to find other Malaysians or Asians in your vicinity, ie to catch up with news/ happenings and FOOD of course!!! 😛

    Yeah, I thought so, too. The package came really fast. In less than a week! Either the world is getting really small or ppl are getting more efficient 🙂 . Thanks for the tip. This will be my first go on imperial measurements in Europe. If the measurement is for liquid, eg water or oil, and if the recipe says, I cup of cooking oil, I guess we have to top the oil up to the brim? You know, I think I will need to consult you as I go along, my dear pastry chef 🙂 I suggest you re-think about that cert. I’m sure you’ll make one great pastry chef !

  24. X says:

    N our kids can sit on the veranda to c their classy mothers in action! LOL!

  25. Nasifriet says:

    Cool mothers. LOL!

  26. […] my last post, The MasterChef in X, C and A… thanks girls :-D, I received some requests from readers to post the beef rendang […]

  27. […] written in 2010 in “Murphy’s Law or was it just …?” and in 2012 on “The MasterChef in X, C and A …” and a more recent write-up, “Coconut Pandan Chiffon Cake – First Successful […]

  28. […] (without partners and kids), whom you have ‘met’ on these posts, here and here. One of the girls, C, just visited a farm near her place before coming to my house. She’s a […]

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