Tuesday, November 28, 2006

mindfreak's assistant

We went to dinner at one of the many Thai restaurants here with 2 other families. While waiting for our order to come, some of the boys played with their PSPs and my kids could only sit beside them and watch with their mouths agape. I overheard Ilham say "I wish I had a PSP, that would be so cool" and Ihsan agreeing. I guess they felt kinda inferior coz they're not equipped with all these gadgets.
After dinner was over, we adults still chatted about this and that and the kids were getting bored at their table and had started playing with their food. They took toothpicks and stuck them to pieces of tomatoes and cucumber to create an illusion that these pieces of vegetables were floating on air.
So I decided to leave the adult table and joined the kids to show them a trick I learned from Bill Nye The Science Guy - how to balance 2 forks on the lip of a glass using a toothpick (do you know this trick?).
I did it in silence, without even calling to the kids to watch, but even then they did so with interest. When I had assembled my forks and toothpick and succesfully balanced it at the edge of a glass, they all went "WOAHHHHHH!! How did you do *that*????" "That is so cool!!!"
Ihsan nonchalantly said "yeah.. my mom is cool"
"She's like mindfreak" Ilham added. "No, like mindfreak's assistant".
So for the next half an hour or so I managed to occupy the kids' time by teaching them the trick and having them try it out themselves.
When we were walking back to the car Ilham gave me a hug and told me thankyou for showing the trick. I pointed out to him that I didn't need a PSP to make me cool, and he agreed. :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kuih Keria (Sweet Potato Wheels)

Dedicated to Kimmi.

Kuih (coo-eh), is basically any small, most often than not sweet but sometimes savoury dish that Malaysians eat as a snack. Most kuihs are usually by design portioned to a few bites' size, therefore you would find them balled or parcelled in some way.
Kuih Keria (coo-eh curr-ree-year) is one such example. It is made from sweet potatoes, shaped into small wheels and then fried. The traditional version of Kuih Keria is put into a thick syrup that would create an extremely sweet flaky crust when cooled, but for easy-peasiness reasons, I just coat mine in castor sugar. My kids call them "mini doughnuts".

Kuih Keria

500 grams sweet potatoes (boiled till tender, peeled then mashed)
1 egg (beaten)
100 grams flour (all-purpose will do fine)
a pinch of salt
a teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)

Mix mashed sweet potatoes with eggs and salt then gradually add in the flour till the dough is well mixed. Flour your hands properly, take a little bit of dough and form into a small ball. Flatten the ball and use your thumb and index finger to poke a hole through the ball to form a wheel. Deep fry the wheels in medium hot oil till golden brown. Drain and let cool on a paper towel before tossing them in sugar before serving.

I find that mixing the dough with a fork works better than using a spoon. I use a spoon to measure the amount of dough to ball up, just so that I get a roughly consistent size every time. I also keep a bowl of flour nearby so that I can keep re-flouring my hands, since the dough can be quite sticky (and it's very soft too). After forming the ball into a wheel, I lay it out on a wax paper in a baking sheet, and continue forming wheels till I finish up the whole dough. You can seperate layers of wheels using another piece of wax paper. This ensures that your wheels don't stick to each other.
I usually fry the wheels till dark brown rather than a golden brown, because I like my kuih keria to be slightly crunchy on the outside. If you don't like it crunchy, frying it till it is golden brown is fine, coz that is good enough to cook the flour and eggs.
I coat the wheels by putting the castor sugar (or icing sugar) in a ziploc bag (or any plastic bag, or even a tupperware) then putting in a few wheels at a time, then shaking them about. This reduces spills, and is very convenient for when I am transporting the kuih somewhere and not eating it right away.

So there you go, the recipe and all the tips and tricks I know about how to make a good Kuih Keria.
If you do try it out and it turns out good, do tell me about it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kenduri Update

An Update on Izani's Kenduri:

Guess what Guess what, Our madam Lollies will be in Malaysia during that time, and she has accepted my invitation to the kenduri!!
wooo hooooo!!!

Who else are going to be there?
Zan, Famygirl, Bertique (wehh ponteng lah basketball for one day..), PB, aiechomeyll, and nutty have confirmed their presence.

Diah, will u still come if bear is not around? Lollies said that she's willing to come pick u up.

Nazrah, a little bird told me that you might be in town during that time... so will you be able to grace us with your presence?

What about the rest of you?

If you think you can make it, please do drop me an email : elisa underscore taufik at yahoo dot com ,
tell me how many are coming and i'll send you a map.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

a little k@rma

My TV doesnt get The Am@zing Race, but I caught the Ch0 brothers on the early show this morning, and I am thoroughly impressed by them. When I was reading famygirl's AR recaps, I got the impression that they were foolish to be so helpful and trusting of their advesaries, but now that I've heard their side of the story, I see where they're coming from. I envy their integrity, especially in such a competetive environment. I guess this quote by one of them says it all "Money can only go so far, but friendships last a lifetime".
It is sad, but nice-ness do not make good TV, eh?

Even if you're not a buddhist and don't believe in reincarnation and karma, I think everyone believes that your action affects others and will eventually affect you one way or another.
The Ch0 brothers have started a website called A Little Karma, where they aim to create revenue to be able to perform acts of kindness. They don't have much stuff there yet, but the 4 photos that they are currently selling are quite nice. They welcome contributions of your time and talent (and of course cash) and also ideas. If you have ideas for acts of kindness, you can tell them and when they have the funds, they'll try to perform it.
I thought it was a really cool idea.

So if you have a hankering for a little good karma, you know where to go.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Little Ed

children clothes may be expensive, but oh. my. god. they are worth it when it makes your kid look as cute as this:

My own little Eddie Vedder... !

My advice is, if you have friends (or know someone) who has just given birth recently, ask to have their newborn clothes second hand (offer to pay for it, to be nice, but most often than not, they'll prolly give it to you for free). Then you can use the money saved from baby clothes to buy the slightly more expensive cute jammies with the bunny ears. Or do like me, wear out their clothes day in day out in the summer, then save the money to buy cute jumpsuits and denim jackets for the winter ;)
Dressing up your baby is the best part of being a parent!

Friday, November 17, 2006

last night in bed

Before saying goodnight, everyone hangs around in our bed.

Anis: Ayah, I don't like your tummy. I like Bonda's tummy.
Ayah: Why? because mine is big?
Bonda: But ayah's tummy is so smooth *rubs ayah's tummy* *giggle*
Anis: Bonda's tummy is wiggly *plays with Bonda's tummy* like jelly!!
Bonda: *rolls eyes*

Ilham: What date is it today?
Ayah: Today is the 16th of November.
Bonda: hey.. tomorrow is Che' Su's birthday!
Ihsan: Who is Che' Su?
Bonda: She is Aliff's mom
Ihsan: Who is Aliff?

Bonda: Today would've been Auntie Suhaila's 36th Birthday.
Ilham: Who is Auntie Suhaila?
Ihsan: Hey.. she's got the same name like Anis!! Anis Suhaila.
Ayah: Auntie Suhaila gave Ilham his first tricycle.
Bonda: Remember we used to visit Auntie Suhaila at the hospital? She was sick.
Ilham: What happened to her?
Bonda: She died.
Ilham: How did she die?
Bonda: She got really sick.. there was something wrong with her stomach.
Ihsan: Did she eat too much?
Bonda: I don't know, sayang...
Bonda: That's how Anis got her name. I named Anis after Auntie Suhaila.

Then everybody got shooed away to their own bed.

Happy Birthday Che' Su!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Hey Izani's 7 month's today. Find out what's up with him at his blog, here.

If you're going to make it to Izani's Kenduri Cukur Jambul dan Aqiqah,
please email me at elisa underscore taufik at yahoo dot com.
I need a rough estimate of how many people are coming so that I can cater enough food. (Don't worry about being accurate).
Send me a note before November 25th, por favor.
I'll also give you my address and a map, if you need one.

k gotta go.. kids are hungry.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Brave Little Boy

Every year the kids' school has this walkathon thingy. They come home with a donation form and the kids are encouraged to collect donations for a certain charity. Last year it was for the Tsunami Fund, this year it's for the Save The Children Fund.
Last year the kids didnt do anything about it, and I did not push them, but this year they showed quite an interest, asking me how they were supposed to fill up the form, what were they supposed to do with it and stuff.
So I promised them that after having their after school snack yesterday, they could go out and go from house to house to ask for donations. Taufik thought it'd be a good experience as well, at the very least, they would learn how hard people have to work to get money.
I really didnt expect much.. my kids can be quite shy with strangers, so I taught them a script. When people answer the door, Introduce yourself, then tell them you're collecting money for the Save The Children Fund (it's written on the form), will they donate some money please? When they do, say Thankyou.
So after having their snack yesterday, they rushed me through my email-reading session and got on their bikes while I push Izani in the stroller.
The first house they went to was our next door neighbour. I watched from afar.
When my neighbour answered the door, I heard "Hi" then mumble mumble "school" then mumble mumble "can you give us money?". My neighbour's husband is a really cheerful guy so he was all "oh. okay okay let me read the paper" then he wrote his name and gave Ihsan whatever change he had.
The kids were so happy with their first accomplishment that Ihsan came up with a plan. Why don't we split up? he said, Abang (Ilham) and Anis can go on the other side of the compound, and he will go with me on this side of the compound.
I told him that that was a good idea and asked Ilham and Anis whether they would like to do that and they too, agreed.
So off we went.
I had expected them to go to each and every house, but they were too shy and decided to only go to houses of people they knew, which are basically, people who ride on their school bus. So within 15 minutes they all had come back together. Ihsan had 2 names, Ilham had 1 name and Anis.. well she didnt really bother.
We went for another round, this time all 3 kids went to one other house (another lady from the bus) and got 10riyals. Taufik met up with us in his car on his way home from work and he left to change his shoes.
Ihsan then did something unexpected. He said "I'm going to go to 150, then I'm going to go to her neighbour".
150 is my husband's colleague and they don't have kids, so Ihsan only knew them because I've been sending food to the wife during ramadhan.
He pressed the bell and no one answered. The car wasnt there, so I told Ihsan maybe they were not home. He looked a bit dissapointed, but recovered and asked me whether he could ask 151 (the house next to 150). Sure, I said.
He hesitated at first. He went on the steps then came back down, so I encouraged him and said "Go ahead". He asked, "what if they say no?" to which I told him to just say "Thankyou" and leave.
He pressed the bell and turned back to grin at me.
A man answered the door, I didnt hear what Ihsan said to him but he went in and then a teenage girl (his daughter I presume) came out. She talked to Ihsan for a bit, then I saw her filling up the form and giving Ihsan a few dollar bills. I yelled "Say Thankyou" to Ihsan and he did to the girl and came running down to me so proud of himself.
It was getting dark so I told them it was time to go home. We were walking home when Taufik pointed to a house at the end of our block and asked Ihsan to try asking that house. Ihsan, having more confidence now, took up the challenge and went up to the door and pressed the bell, while I stood at the end of the driveway with Izani on my hips. Taufik and the other kids decided to walk staright home.
Sabnam (this really nice lady living in that house) opened the door and patiently listened to Ihsan introduce himself and tell her what he needed. I saw her put her palms on her cheeks in delight and she looked at me and waved me to come in. So Ihsan, Izani and I were invited into her house, where we were served orange juice. She kept praising Ihsan for his noble gesture and came out with her bowl of change and asked Ihsan to pick out all that are Saudi coins. So that's what the 3 of us did on her sofa, going through her change bowl while talking about the countries she's been to based on the different coins that she had.
We went home to count the money, and Ihsan ended up with SR26.30, while Ilham managed to collect SR20. (We will need to help Anis later in the week).

I was so proud of my kids' ability to kindly approach strangers, especially Ihsan's.
I really didnt expect them to be able to do this since they are usually quite shy, and Ihsan really suprised me with his braveness.
They are now all pumped up to do it again this afternoon. I don't know whether they'll learn the leasson that Taufik wanted them to learn (i.e. how hard it is to get money) because so far, people seems to have been very generous with them, but at least they'll be learning essential people skills and have so much more confidence in themselves.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Easy Peasy Honey Chilli Chicken

Firstly, thanks to Kak Rozieta for suggesting that I take home some leftover grilled tandoori chicken at the end of a dinner party at Sharleee's place and 'make something else' with it.
Secondly, this dish utilizes leftovers and the bottom of a bottle of tomato ketchup and a bottle of chilli sauce. Therefore, no real measurements were made. I don't know if it even qualifies as a real recipe. I guess, you can use raw chicken in place of the leftover chicken, or even pre-grill the chicken yourself before making the dish.
My best advice is to look the recipe over and see how you can make it work for you.

Easy peasy Honey Chilli Chicken

about 200grams chicken (pre-grilled, or not)
5 shallots, sliced thinly
2 garlic pips, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons chilli sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick carrot, shredded
1 large onion, sliced into rings
salt n pepper to taste

In a bit of oil, saute the shallots and garlic till brown but not burnt. Add in the sauces and a little bit of water and stir to mix well. Add in the honey, then gradually add the sugar till it is well dissolved. Simmer till sauce is thick and bubbly, then toss in the chicken till all is well coated. Add the carrots and onions. Taste before adding salt and pepper.

I added salt and pepper after I've added the chicken and tasted the dish, because the chicken was already well seasoned. And note to Nina: Kalau malas nak potong sayur halus, gunalah shredder.. :)
We had this with leftover fried rice.

Whilst eating it, I imagined the sauce being slightly burnt under a grill.. it could be quite yummeh. So I guess you could try putting uncooked chicken wings and drummets into the sauce, then put them on the barbie or under the broiler and turn them into a sorta buffalo wings sorta thing. Do tell me if you decide to try it out!

Friday, November 10, 2006


hm... what's been going on with me?

been very busy.

I decided to save a few bucks and make my own containers for Izani's party favours. A cardboard box costs 50cents per piece. My paper bag costs erm.. less than 2 cents per piece, but I have to spend time folding and gluing it. I know some people would probably just throw them away at the end of the party, but nevermind... I'm doing it outta love. I'm gonna save one for keepsake.

Last weekend I had four families come over for tea. Taufik bought some arabic bread and I made dhal and chicken curry and fried meehoon (You can tell that I don't have that many dishes which I am confident of cooking and serving to guests). I had some leftover curry just sitting there in the fridge, so today I boiled some tagliatelle and had it with the curry. Curry tagliatelle.. yum. Not bad for a cold day. Sorry no pictures, all gone.
Yup it's starting to get cold... The sky's no longer blue, it's gloomy gray and we even got a bit of drizzle today (extremely rare in this part of the world, if you don't know yet).
I'm thinking of making popcorn today. Did you know that I didn't know how to make popcorn in a pot on the stove? I just learned how to do that from Rach@elR@y yesterday. (note: I also do not own a microwave)
Tomorrow I'm thinking of making her berrymisu. (Tiramisu, but with blended strawberries instead of coffee.. interesting, eh?)

This weekend is Schlumb3rger's International Day and since I'm an adopted Schlumb3rger-ian (Adopted by my friend Sharlee), and I've been put in charge of making cucur keria (there you go again, my limited menu), ordering currypuffs from Kak F, and a 'cultural performence'. Nope, I'm not gonna dance. I'm gonna make the kids do something.
So I've been searching for traditional malay songs. Found Lagu Tiga Kupang (The malay version of Sing a song of Sixpence) and Itik Gembo-Gembo (A Trengganu folk song). Spent this morning thinking about choreography and typing them out and sending it out to Sharlee and Liza. This afternoon I have to teach my kids how to do the joget. tee hee.

I am also starting to shop for the trip home. I'm thinking maybe jubah (long arabic dresses) for my sisters (and sisters in laws.. jangan risau nina) and kopiah for men? maybe habatuss sauda? I don't know.. makcik pening. (and adusss poket ku sakit)

Okay so.. my alerts are piling up again.
I have a PM that's been waiting for a reply for almost a week now (mintak ampunnnnnn oLaB!!!) .. don't know when I'd have time to write that one.

okeh gotta go.

See ya when I see ya.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

peek a boo

Sorry for being not really here not really there for the past few days.

Izani was sick. He started with a slight cold that developed into a horrible pleghmy cough. After 3 days and not getting better, we brought him to the doctor to get nebulized coz the doctor said his lungs sounded pleghmy too.
The first few days Taufik and I hardly got any sleep coz Izani kept waking up to cough and cry. Now he is better, alhamdulillah.

We're flying home on Dec6th!! yay...!!!

If you're in the Klang Valley around that time, please keep Sunday Dec 10th 11am to 2pm free coz we're having a little eating-gathering session at my house. We're gonna be cutting a bit of izani's hair and my mom's friends are gonna sing some songs (not karaoke!) and then we're gonna eat lamb (and other food, of course).
If my girlfriends don't make it, i'm gonna pout for a year. (You know who you are! p/s please tell Mdm Y and Mdm S and Mdm N and Mdm F, and Kak Ina).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Easy Peasy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta

This was yesterday's lunch.
It doesnt have to be sausages, or mushrooms. It can be anything really, but those are what I had in my fridge.
And it could be any kind of pasta, but I had a bit of spaghetti and a bit of fettucini, so I boiled both and mixed them.

Easy peasy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta

3-4 cups cooked pasta
5-10 pips garlic (depends on how much u like em)
5 sausages sliced into chunks (it was leftover from breakfast)
half a can of whole mushrooms (quartered)
one small can cream soup (I used cream of chicken)
Italian herb mix (i used mccormack. It's optional but it gives a delish aroma)
salt n pepper to taste

Saute garlic in oil (evoo or whatever you have) till lightly roasted. Add in the sausages to brown them a bit. Add a little water to stop garlic from burning. Add cream soup and half a can of water. Stir to a smooth consistency. Sprinkle with the herb mix. Once it boils, add salt n pepper to taste, then add the mushrooms.
Pour the sauce over the pasta.

I kept the mushrooms chunky because Ihsan likes them but Ilham doesnt, so Ilham could easily pick them out to give them to his brother. The sausages are cut into chunks for dramatic effect. The kids would go "ooohhh sausages!! yummy!!" instead of holding up a bit of meat and make a face while asking me "What is this?".
I added a bit of cream to the soup to tone down the saltiness, and I served mine with chopped cilantro and sprinklings of parmesan. My kids had theirs without the cilantro and with a generous amount of grated mozzarella.
You can basically do anything you want to make it your own.
I have leftovers and today I'm gonna have it with some garlic toasts (coz sliced bread are all I have).

Guy F@wkes

Ihsan came home with this yesterday:

He also came home with a mock firework he made out of a loo roll. Anis came home with a picture of flames and fireworks too.

I asked Ihsan to tell me about Guy Fawkes and he said Guy was a naughty man who wanted to kill the king and he made dynamite but then he got caught by the police and now people wear poppies on their clothes(???).
I was confused ... wikipedia explained Guy Fawkes, but did not mention poppies..
I think my kids are confused too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Facial Feats

We were at the dinner table and I don't know how it got about to it, but Ihsan started showing everybody how he could flare up his nostrils on cue. Everybody else started trying to do it too. It was so funny how Ilham's and Anis's eyes cross as they tried to see their noses to check whether they got it right.
Ihsan asked me to do it too, but trying to act all proper and lady-like, I refused.
"Can you move your ears?" Ihsan asked me.
"No, but I know someone who can" I answered.
They asked who, and I told them 'Uncle Riza' but they don't remember who he is even though I tried to describe him and told them that it's that guy we always bump into at Restoran Jaya. I promised them that I will ask Uncle Riza to demonstrate his ear trick if we happen to bump into him again. (Boleh ya, Uncle Riza?)
Ihsan then announced that he could move his ears, and started flapping his ears with his fingers. "Like Dumbo!" he laughed, and made a flip-flop noise.
I then said "but I could do this:" and raised my left eyebrow.
They were all impressed "woaaa terrerrrr!!!" and tried to do it too, struggling with one hand trying to hold the other eyebrow down.
It was a riot!
Good thing we don't do this when we have guests over.

Ilham has been interested in chess for a long time, but we never got around to buying him a set. He started pestering us again after he saw that his friend Afiq had come home from his holiday in Cyprus with a nice bronze chest set.
Last weekend we went to Carrefour and bought him a SR8.90 magnetic travelling chess-checker-backgammon set. (Read: We are cheap and we have small children that would just eat or lose the pieces).
For the past few days we have been having a chess game almost every night in our living room, but I keep feeling hungry everytime they play because Ilham keeps calling the pawns "prawns".
And I have discovered that my husband is a very cruel and conniving chess player.
Or maybe I'm just a sore loser...
tee hee.

I was washing dishes in the kitchen the other day, while the kids were at the dining table having their breakfast of sausages, scrambled eggs, baked beans and toast (oh yesssss YUMM!), when Ihsan suddenly asked, "Bonda, Can I call you 'Mom'?", to which I replied NO.
He whined and asked why, cause everybody else calls their mom 'Mom'.
"Exactly", I explained, "If you were in a crowd and you called out 'Mom!', I would think that you were some other kid who calls their mom 'Mom' who were calling for their mom, and I wouldn't answer you".
"but if you called out 'Bonda!'", I continued, "then I would know instantly that it was one of my kids calling out for me".
"oooohhhhh....." he said in understanding.
Things were quiet for a bit, then I heard a very tiny "bonda?"
I answered yes and turned around, and found Anis peering into the kitchen to check if I had responded.
She just gave me a huge grin.
From then on, they were always testing out this theory and would call out for me in the busiest and noisiest of places, like in the supermarket, or across the hall where we had another eid gathering last weekend.

I was lying on my back in bed the other day while izani was tottering beside me (Yes, he can crawl already!) and he ended up propped on his belly, on mine. He leaned forward and seemed to be chewing on my belly button but I didnt feel anything but drool. So I lifted my head to have a better look and discovered that he was chewing on the knot of the the drawstring of my track pants, and it's almost frayed! I felt his gums with my pinky and lo and behold! he has a tooth on his lower front gum!

Friday, November 03, 2006

DBGS International Day 2006

Here are pictures for the International Day at the kids' school:

It started at 9am, the kids paraded around the school compound for one round and then we all went to the newly built 'sand dome' (So called because it used to be a circle filled with sand with a dome shaped tent over it for the kids to play in, but now they converted it into a mini-auditorium).
There each year group performed songs from different countries.
Anis's class sang and dance 'chuwab chuwe', a folk song from africa.
Ihsan's class sang 'greensleeves', an old song from England(?).
Ilham's class performed a rap song they wrote themselves. All I remembered was the first line went "We're Dhahran British Grammar School, and we are very cool". It was funny watching Ilham trying to dance hip-hop style.

As you can see, we didnt get a chance to take a family picture.. :P

I also forgot to take a picture of the cucur keria, but I think I'll make more soon, so once I get pictures, Kimmi, I will post the recipe !