Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Another Weekend At Sham's Sanctuary

Last weekend was spent in Ulu Langat at Sham's Sanctuary and the last time we were there was in February 2010.

Apart from the usual suspects Major Sham, Colonels Mike Naser, Shaik and Shafique, and General Dato' Amin, we had Colonel Sheikh "Bill" Tawfiq and Tigers KC Heah, Chris Cheng, Hamdan Azmir and Kamarul Shahrin. Tiger Capt Harjit was greatly missed as he had been called to Kerteh on Saturday.

It was another weekend of great company, food and drink (in that order) and this time around it was a rather sober occasion (we must all be getting old). Only about 12 bottles of wine, a bottle of whiskey and two cases of beer for the whole weekend (Friday evening till Sunday morning).

Food was again exceptional but with Annie (Mrs Sham) indisposed, variety and quantity were unlike last February. Nevertheless, Friday dinner was steamboat with two kinds (hot and sour tom yam and savory dragon fruit) of soup. There were also the customary Thai Miang Kham and cheese platter. It is fruit season and we had lovely durians, bananas, rambutans and dukong langsat from Sham's orchard.

Saturday morning breakfast was kampung nasi lemak and apart from the nicely cooked nasi and sambal accompaniment we had deepfried catfish slices cooked in chilli. Sheikh "Bill" Tawfiq arrived in time with one of the best sambal sotong in town (prepared with love by his better half; as he puts it).

Chris Cheng arrived with her son (and a delightful orange cake) in time for lunch and tuna sandwich snack prepared by Mike.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon with some trying to catch up on sleep lost the previous night. Shafique was the main hero.

This time around we had the irrepressible Sheikh Tawfiq whose non-stop supply of jokes and anecdotes for every occasion kept everyone in stiches. That was before he took out his Yamaha keyboard and began belting out songs of yesteryear for the rest of the day and night! Not bad for a guy who plays by ear. When he finally went to sleep at 3.00 am even the crikets were intimidated into silence; late night at Sham's Sanctuary probably has never been so quiet...apart from the droning orchestra of muffled snores of course.

BBQ on Saturday was again Colonel Mike's show and it was as usual, excellent. This time around he served grilled chicken drumsticks wrapped in beef bacon, mashed potato topped with caviar, relish wrapped boneless NZ lamb, lemon sorbet, grilled Portobello mushrooms, peaches and ice-cream...and more! The lamb was simply scrumptious! Again, Mike was the chef and I was the cook.

Annie returned home that Saturday night with a pot of mutton curry with murungakai and it was not only the first time I had seen mutton curry cooked with "drumsticks", it has to be right up there among the best I have tasted!

Sunday lunch was catered from the Thai restaurant located just outside Sham's Sanctuary and included rebung (bamboo shoots) that Tawfiq brought which became a masak lemak with beef tripe. There were two green vegetables, crispy fried small salted fish, Annie's special mutton curry, fish masak lemak, and the pièce de résistance of the meal was the chilli brinjal.

Apart from being an analyst with TMB, Tiger Kamarul Shahrin is a talented photographer. He had brought his arsenal of expensive, high-end photographic equipment and I thought we were going to be treated to numerous professionally taken records of the weekend's proceedings. I was right with "professionally taken" but totally wrong with "numerous"! The bugger only took a handful of shots! He says an artist deals in rarity! Shit!!! So if this time around this blogpost contains fewer photos (low quality from the phonecam) it should be compensated by some breath-taking shots by Shahrin (you will know which ones they are by just looking).

Hopefully, more pictures can be posted up later if I receive them from the other camera owners present.

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