Vote Earth! The Earth Hour Chicken

Saturday, 28 March 2009, 8.30-9.30 pm.

What can one hour of darkness achieve, cynics ask.

A lot, I say.

At 8.28 pm it was really heartening to see my young babyfruits (nephews and nieces, aged 7 to 16) storm into the kitchen demanding all the lights to be switched off for the hour. Imagine that! Now, that kind of awareness in the young is just priceless.

Unfortunately, this was halfway through my culinary experiment – just as I was about to click on my phonecamera to take a shot of the results. On the occasion of the Earth Hour last weekend I ‘created’ a new dish, lemon grass butter chicken roast. Don’t get me wrong, I was all for the Earth Hour, I even had my bought-in-Manila Earth Hour T-shirt on! But I probably should have spent some pesos on ‘timing’ as well… here’s my chicken…

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Oh well, it was the Earth Hour…

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Green isn’t always envy…

It was that same Friday afternoon that I’d risen rather grumpily  from my slumber thinking I was late for my Rojak appointment with Kucang, when after all the fuss he texted saying he’d be 45 min late!  I was already well on my way to my car in the drive way, when I could’ve been still in some strange land being chased by large and green amoeba-like beings wearing Scottish tartan!! Not that I enjoy that kind of subconscious plays during my sleep, but I wouldn’t have mind the extra time shut-eye.

So, there I was grumbling to my sleep-deprived self when as I looked up, I screamed “What the Dodol..?!!” ~  nearly fell on my back like a turtle attempting a breakdance… well I exaggerate, but you get the idea. Here’s what I saw…dsc00463

Thankfully, these weren’t those green jelly monsters whose acquaintance I’d made in my dream just 20 minutes previously, but large unripe Buah Sukun  or Breadfruit!  I swear I walk through this patch everyday, but had never realized these green balls of goodness were just above my head.

Greenie had acne problem...

Greenie had acne problem...

Breadfruit is great lightly fried in butter.  I reckon it may even be awesome mashed. Hmm. That’s a thought!

So green isn’t always the colour of envy, it could quite simply be a buah sukun waiting to plop onto your unsuspecting little head, and turn it black and blue.

Rojak KB

Ahh… the one and only Rojak KB..!

I’d been staving off mad craving for the Rojak KB in Tutong’s Lee Loi Fat for two weeks until last Friday, when I awoke from my afternoon beauty sleep, and succumbed to the evils of sweet and spicy peanut sauce poured over a mixed salad of Ubi sengkuang, sotong, pineapple and kangkong!

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Delicious!

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This symphony of texture and taste I had was complemented by  Cucur Udang with sweet sauce and chilli. Nothing like sweet tasting large tiger prawns in crispy coating.

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I bet the calories from these two dishes would shock the crap of even Satan, but no harm spoiling yourself from time to time…

Pasta Brunei Style

Probably the quickest meal you can make yourself. Plonk some spag into hot water, drain it, pour into bowl, splash of olive oil, spoon of pesto, and you’re done! At least that’s how I survived my student days in the UK. In recent years they also came up with ‘pasta cubes’ (much like chicken cubes etc). Easy peasy.

So why am I talking about Pasta on what’s supposed to be about Bruneian food?

Well, I’ve always added a Bruneian twist to my pasta dish.

I’ve used Bruneian lalap daging (dried beef jerky) in my pasta. Spag as usual, virgin olive oil, and fried beef jerky cut into strips.

Tom Yam cubes can also be broken over your pasta, with some basil and tomato.

Or you could also try adding garlic, sundried tomato pieces (paste ok jua), Italian herb mix (dried/ fresh), and some Chinese dried mushrooms (soak in water first lah!) – and cook all these in a wok on the stove, as you would ‘mee goreng mamak’. Add chilli for a bit of heat.

Here are a couple more I made.

Spaghetti alio olio with dessicated crabmeat.

Spaghetti alio olio with dessicated crabmeat.

The local twist here is I used sweet basil leaves and I added a bit of fish sauce.  hmm, sounds Thai to me now! (Photo courtesy of my professional photog friend, Rose Sabtu.)

Made to order

Made to order

This was pasta with creamy cheese sauce with crab claw meat. I used medium cheddar,  and chunky crab claws stir-fried with Italian herbs.

Eeeek!! Ignore those hadiah-orang-kawin plastic plates ~ this was at the beach house…

(sorry! photo editor on day off)

all we need is chilli flakes!

As you might’ve guessed by now, my favourite ‘sapak’ is seafood, be it large prawns, crabmeat, scallops, mussels, or a mix of these. Notice no fish. I don’t eat fish, but it should work too, I reckon.

Here’s another thing I don’t like, so-called spaghetti with runny sweet beef bolognaise (with tomato ketchup, not puree, and mindboggling loads of sugar!) topped with grated cheese-slices that you find in $1 tapau containers. I’m all for creativity, but I think that’s twisting it too much. I don’t know. I’m hungry.

Bits & Bob

Random pics I found on my mobile phone.

I know I took them here in Brunei to upload, just can’t remember what the occasion was. They’re from various events/ places I went to over the last two months at least.

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I am pretty sure that this was breakfast at some hotel somewhere. I like my muesli with crunchy nuts and fruit, usually raisins and strawberry.  But on this occasion I decided to be adventurous and had my cereal with Nangka (sweet jackfruit). Gorgeous.

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Bread and butter pudding drowned in custard, pineapple tart, Kuih Kochi, and strawberry mousse.  Bubur Keladi (Yam sweet porridge) to top it off.

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Arabic Chicken Rice

Arabic Chicken Rice

Oh I remember this one! It’s Arabic Chicken Rice (Mandi Dijaj) from Saffron.  I remember because that was when they had a free top up deal going on~ you finish your food and you’re still hungry, they give you another whole portion, no questions asked (at least not from the restaurant staff. Nosey fellow-diners are a completely different story!)

Pulut Hitam

Pulut Hitam

Sweet glutinous black rice with coconut cream, again at Saffron.  I don’t think I’ll forget this one so soon.  And neither would Dr Piniti who ordered it… not after having my cameraphone rather rudely and swiftly intercepting his spoonful en route to his mouth (sorry, Dr Cool, bloggers can be annoying  *ahem*).

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I can’t remember what this one’s called, but it was ice cream in a meringue nest, topped with whipped cream, strawberry slices and sauce. I do remember remarking on how big it was- took three of us to finish it!  Nice though.

I know there are many more pics of food that I’ve taken that I haven’t uploaded yet.  I’ll get round to it eventually, I hope.

Tongkeng Ayam

a.k.a. the “Bishop’s nose”

a.k.a. “Abut a’al” (in Tutong language)

If you can de-visualize this fatty appendage’s close proximity to the chicken’s *ahem* bum… and all its…err… “related activities”…  then the “tongkeng” can be a delicious treat.

The Tongkeng taking centrestage

The Tongkeng taking centrestage

$1 for a stick of 5 tongkengs~ nothing stinky about this deal!

good honest tasty food- tongkeng on the grill

good honest tasty food- wings and tongkeng on the grill

I am a fan of the tongkeng, but I can’t have too many.  A stick of five small ones is OK for me.  But I stopped eating it for a while after watching Brad Pitt/ Edward Norton’s movie “The Fight Club” which depicted a scene where Brad and Edward broke into some lab and stole bags and bags of liposuctioned human fat Brad said would go into face creams.  Brad said something like “They’re really putting their bums on their faces!”  Savoury.  Back in the real world, I got over that image of bloody fat in clear plastic bags soon enough, thankfully, and am back to eating tongkeng again.

But here’s something new I learned today:  the proper name of the tongkeng is “Pygostyle” (ref: The Food Pornographer http://www.thefoodpornographer.com/?p=1118).

I’ve always thought it was called the Coccyx.  I just never learned how to say it.

In sum then, Chicken Ass = gooood!

Pasar Malam @ Night Market, Gadong

Brunei’s answer to Bangkok’s famous Pratunam Night Market, with less risk of getting run over by a vehicle while you’re trying to pay for your coconut drink perhaps…

Last month while staying at the posh Rizqun Hotel, a little spark in my head suggested we walk across the bridge to the Pasar Malam and pretend to be tourists… in the hope of getting offered free samples.  But the moment Ches stepped on a slug on its night out on the tiles (literally speaking) and fasttracked it to heaven, lightning struck and it started to rain.  Now, at this point, anyone in their right mind would’ve taken this as an omen and ran back to safety of the hotel – not us- we braved the rain – this smack in the middle of Brunei’s worst ever heavy rain and flood season.

Pasar Malam, or “PM” among university students, is a must-see for tourists visiting Brunei. There you’ll find a whole range of local foods, or local versions of international foods, at very cheap prices. Think 50 cents or B$1.   Murah hantap nieh!

Pulut Panggang (but not the famous Tutong one ni ah)

Pulut Panggang (but not the famous Tutong one ni ah)

cucur macam-macam

cucur macam-macam

Air Samboi (plum & lime), Kelapa (coconut), Jagung (sweetcorn), Bandung (Rose syrup)

Air Samboi (plum & lime), Longan, Jagung (sweetcorn), Bandung (Rose syrup)

Sugar cane ready for their reckoning

Sugar cane ready for their reckoning

LR Clockwise: Springroll (popiah), Cucur udang (prawn fritter), Begedil (Potato balls), doughnuts.

LR Clockwise: Springroll (popiah), Cucur udang (prawn fritter), Begedil (Potato balls), doughnuts.

I missed these in the caption (malas ku ngubah lagi eh): Just top of the doughnuts, Cucur Kacang (Mungbean fritters), Cucur Keladi (Yam fritters).

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Boiled Stinky Jaring. Mints, anyone..??

Boiled Stinky Jaring. Mints, anyone..??

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I seriously hope that guy in blue wasn’t picking his nose there and then… that’s not how you do it anyway…

Nasi pulut bungkus

Nasi pulut bungkus

Sotong Tutul ("hammered cuttlefish" ~ not really, but roasted cuttlesfish beaten to to pulp in chilli sauce)

Sotong Tutuk ("hammered cuttlefish" ~ not really, but roasted cuttlesfish beaten to to pulp in chilli sauce)

Grilled and barbied stuff!

Grilled and barbied stuff! (Lady giving pretend-tourists the stare of death. We've been sussed!)

No we didn’t get any free food, we got sussed out almost immediately.  But at least we had a nice view of Gadong Central!

A magnificent view to boot!

Not quite the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, but magnificent view nonetheless, khap!