[Penang, Malaysia] Home-cooking during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Love the fish knives.

Unfortunately, both my parents left their orignal birth place bringing nothing much with them except maybe a few photos when they settled down, no family antiques at home.

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We’ve got items from two sets - both in similar style to yours with reproduction ivory handles (although no fish knives and forks). Both seem to have been made in Sheffield, during the mid-1930s as far as I can work out, although the larger collection is stamped “Lloyd, Payne & Amiel” which a quick bit of Googling tells me was a large firm of wholesale jewellers in Manchester.

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Nice! Possible to see a photo of that?

Day 52 of the Lockdown in Penang here but, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Penang is set to lift its restriction next Wed, May 13, as we’d not seen any new COVID-19 case in Penang for the last 14 days.

Today, it’s home-cooked Kelantan laksa, which is the type of rice noodles which are served with a thick gravy replete with minced mackerel fish-meat, coconut milk, minced shallots and ginger. Pieces of dried tamarind (asam keping) are added during the cooking process to lend a sour tinge to the gravy.

Garnishes include finely-chopped cucumber, torch ginger, onions, beansprouts, mint leaves, pineapple, Vietnamese mint, and sambal belacan chili condiment.

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Nice.

And good luck with the “unlock”. You must be desperate to get out from your apartment block.

The Prime Minister is making a statement tomorrow, the preparations for which have been very badly handled from a public relations perspective. There were leaks that there was going to be a significant “unlock” which was plastered all over the press. That seemed linked to the PM’s statement to Parliament that things could be eased from Monday. The government has now had to spend the last two or three days considerably rowing back on that speculation to suggest that, in fact, there will be very minimal easing of the restrictions. So, at present, your guess is as good as mine what’s going to happen.

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It’s too soon for any significant unlock, IMO. The UK needs to get its infection and death rate down significantly. Both are simply too high as yet to risk anything more than minimal tinkering with the rules - gossip says we may be allowed out more than once a day for exercise.

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It’s been quite a nightmare for many people, and the F&B folks are some of the worst-hit.

I’m hoping there won’t be any nasty surprises for me when I finally get to go out next Wed (the first time in two months for me): one of the first places I really needed to visit is my regular coffee supplier, which gets this brand of coffee powder from one specialist roaster in Ipoh. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the shop will still be there and open, as it’s the sole distributor for that brand in the whole of Penang.

I’ve also been taking a peek at the delivery options offered by my friendly neighbourhood French bistro. Very enticing:
1 bottle of Malbec, quiche, antipasto skewers, preserves, cured meats and cheeses, bread and crackers plus dips (MYR105/£17)

1 bottle of Chardonnay, cheeses, antipasto skewers, leek quiche, chutney, hummus, pesto rosso, bread and crackers. (MYR105/£17)

Foie gras de canard with onion jam & toast (MYR 145/£27)

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Indeed so. If I could get delivery at that standard, I’d be a happy man.

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Despite a loosening of the COVID-19 lockdown procedures - it’s Day Two of the new phase here in Penang, many people are still reluctant to step out of their homes, preferring to stay home and cook, or order in.

This afternoon, I decided to cook Chicken Cacciatore, my old personal favourite from my university’s refectory in Perth, Australia, from back in the early-80s.

I’ll be serving it with fried polenta cakes for dinner this evening. Italian comfort food at its simplest:

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Nice Frenchy nibbles. I used to have different bits on a plate like in your photos but these days only cheese and bread. The partner asks if I vary the things I put on bread. I say I do, with different types of cheese. Just want to eat only cheese I guess. :cheese::cheese::cheese:

Still waiting for the weather to change so I can have a proper (garden) picnic. Already made a few things in pots especially for the (garden) picnic. It’s been so cold. Glad I have not replaced winter clothes with summer clothes.

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Get some pâté or terrines as well. Or some good wine. Anything to break the monotony of this lockdown. Keep safe!

Or? What is that? Dark times if we have to choose between terrines and wine!

:joy:

I have already made those. And there’s no shortage of alcohol in the house. What I meant was I prefer to eat just the cheese :slight_smile: I’m a big fan of cheese.

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All eateries in Penang will finally re-open for dining-in business next Monday, May 18, after a 60-day shutdown. Of course, the “new normal” will require more space between tables and patrons, which will translate to lesser covers. Penang, a state with 1.8 million population currently has no active COVID cases anymore, and no new infections in the past 20 days. The state still shuts its borders to other Malaysian states, but once inter-state travel resumes (which is inevitable), the risks will be high.

Lunch today: home-cooked Khao Neow Toorien (Thai: ข้าวเหนียวทุเรียน) - durian with sticky rice and sweetened coconut milk. It’s durian season in Penang now, and prices are lower this year as there is no influx of tourists from China to drive the demand (and prices) up. Best thing I’ve tasted since the beginning of the Lockdown. :joy:

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I think you can say lockdown has been a success, then.

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It is. The only way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is if everyone stays indoors, so those who are sick can be traced, isolated and treated.

The problem is - we simply cannot afford to be locked in forever - the economic costs will be horrendous.

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It’s a hell of a dilemma.

We’ve had some relaxations for a few days including people being encouraged to go back to work if they cannot work from home. Already the “R” seems to have gone up to 1. This has been too soon and too much.

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Not to mention the costs of staying in 24/7. My utility bill has trebled (and so has my weight)! Our household of 2’s usage of electricity, gas, water etc is only 1/3 or 1/4 compared to the average household. Now what’s more irksome, the taxman says he wants more money.

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It is - a toss-up between saving lives, or saving the economy, without which - how are people going to live anyway?!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2