Monday, December 31, 2007

The year that was

A year ago today, we were in J@karta celebrating Eid-ul-Adha.
We woke up really early to get ready because there were 7 kids and 5 adults in the house and 3 bathrooms and one iron. Thank goodness there was one Kak Ti who worked her magic and got our clothes all ironed and ready, and my kaklong (eldest sister, a.k.a. mokciknab) can be half asleep and still make a mean pot of bubur pulut hitam (black rice porridge) to bring to the M@laysian Embassy.

We spent the morning taking pictures at my sister's lovely sitting room, then we lazed a round.. I think I read a book, but I can't remember what book. Or maybe I rode a bajaj with Taufik to shop at Salina's again.. I can't remember. I know we went for a walk in Taman Monas (National Monument Park) in the afternoon, left just before the new year revelling crowds arrived, bought some spiky hats, went home to change then headed to the posh side of jakarta to Kaklong's friend's big house.


I think 2007 can be called a 'travel and adventure' year for me. I sorta had my revenge for being sequestered in the house most of the time in 2006 (because I was pregnant and then I gave birth to Izani and then it took forever for him to get his passport).
We started it off by going to J@karta, Ind0nesia to visit my kaklong. I got to visit a real-live volcano, so I can tick that off my 'to do before I die' list.
I got to perform my umrah in M@kkah.
I got to ride an ATV up some sand dunes.
I got to see the more exciting parts of S@udi, like the amazing Iris fields of Tum@ir, the Edge of the World and the coastal town of R@s T@nura.
I finally visited Lollies in D0ha, Q@tar.
I finally got to see Kimi Raik0nen live in Bahr@in (despite all the drama). That's another thing to scratch off in my 'to do before I die' list. yayness!
I saw some Egyptian artifacts in B@hrain National Museum when we got to spend a weekend in B@hrain. That was fun.
And then there was that dream holiday that almost didnt happen - a visit to Florence , Volterra and Rome . I would scratch them off my 'to do before I die' list, but I am hesitating coz I want to go again and visit at least one museum (preferrably Galleria Della Academia and see the real David) and put my hand into Boca della Verita.
Taufik also got to have his dream holiday. After 15 years of bugging me, I finally relented to Taufik's request to visit Taman Neg@ra, Pah@ng, and what an adventure that was!!
Last but not least, we closed the year by hosting lollies' family for almost a week.

So that was what my 2007 was like. I have quite a few things planned for 2008. Perhaps a trip to the island of redang for some snorkeling, and also performing my Hajj, Insya-Allah.
I wish you all a prosperous 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the truth is

The truth is, when Lollies arrived at my house, my kitchen was on fire.

We had bought some crabs and Taufik was deep frying it in a pan that was too small and the oil boiled over and caught fire. Our smoke alarm kept going off, the house was hazy with crab smelling smoke and I was going back and forth between the stove to make sure nothing else catches fire and standing under the smoke alarm flapping a kitchen towel at it to make it stop beeping. Taufik finally stopped the incessant alarm by removing the batteries.

Havoc, [I]wa cakap lu[/I]... very far from the goddess image.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Goddess Conference Dec 19th - Dec 25th, S@udi Ar@bia.

[I]ha... bila lagi nak tengok lollies pakai tudung?[/I]

As you may have heard, [URL=""]lollies[/URL] came to visit us these past 6 days. We spent 2 days in Bahr@in, and the rest in Khob@r/Dh@hran. We decided not to go to Riy@dh because we thought the schedule was too packed. If we had gone to Riyadh, lollies would not have been able to see any places in Khob@r.
The visit was hectic and fun. Like with any meetings of malays, it was filled with chatting and eating. When we're not chatting, we're eating. When we're not eating, we're chatting. Sometimes we were chatting while eating.
My kids were very happy their friends were around. It was really difficult to get them to go to sleep.
It was a bit sad to send them off this morning.. I told the kids to bug their parents to come visit us again. tee hee.
I hope they had fun while they were spending time with us :) We definitely had fun having them around !

I'll let lollies tell you what we did while they were here. Her pictures are nicer, and her perception of Bahrain and Khobar will be unbiased. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I'm a bit down today.

Apart from the frustration that I can never clean up my house enough coz it will get messed up in the next five minutes when 4 tornadoes (read: my kids) pass through it, I also got a very upsetting text message.

Yesterday I messaged my friend Wal, inquiring about his new baby. He replied that his wife is fine but the baby was under intensive care because his/her lung is not functioning properly. I prayed for the recovery of his baby, and couldnt stop thinking about it.
This morning I messaged him again, expecting good news, but got a reply that the baby passed yesterday afternoon and was put to rest in the evening.
I was devastated.
I asked him if I could call him, and he said sure.
As I am typing this I have not called him.

I kept trying to think of what to say. And what to say without crying.
Coz every time I started imagining our conversation, I get all teared up.
What can you say?
Asking "how are you" seems like a stupid question.
I can't even bring myself to ask whether his baby was a girl or a boy. I feel like it's irrelevant. But I also feel that it is relevant, coz he/she was his baby, even though for only awhile.
gawd I'm choked up even writing about this.
I want to hug him and his wife, to tell them it's okay, they already have 2 beautiful children, they can make more children but somehow that seems so callous.
I want to tell them to be brave, to surrender and accept fate, to look at this as a test, but that sounds so cliche.
How can I tell them all this and comfort them when I myself am breaking down trying to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place?

I messaged him just now, when I thought I'd be strong enough not to break down when I talk to him. I asked if it was too late too call, whether he's already asleep. (It's like 11:30pm in Malaysia).
No reply.

I am telling myself that I will be stronger tomorrow and I will make a point to call him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8 days and counting...

I've been devoting my time on the chair covers. (and cooking and other daily duties... and even then some of the daily duties like sapu sampah are being neglected *malu*)
Here's what they look like:

2 down, 4 more to go!
So far I've managed to sew one per day, so I think I'll be able to make the deadline *grin*.
I am starting to wish I own a sewing machine though. It'll definitely speed things up and maybe I'd even have time to make a cover for my gawdawful sofas.

The guest room is ready.
The menu is not ready, but I already plan to go buy fish and makanan yang sewaktu dengan nya this weekend.
The rest.. i'll just leave as is. I am trying to convince myself I am not trying to impress anybody, but still feel the need to make my place look welcoming. and liveable.
is that a sin?
am I being vain/pretentious/crazy?
I think the last bit might be partially true.

*cuckoo cuckoo*

Friday, December 07, 2007

I am busy busy

With the impending visit of lollies in 12 days. (yikes!) I have been busy preparing.
Thinking up menus and planning what I can cook in advance (hey i may be a goddess, but I'm no magician). I have to think of what could easily be packed up and brought to B@hrain so that we don't have to search for breakfast. What I could easily defrost and whip up for dinners at home after a day out gallivanting. I should stock up on tit-bits so that we don't go hungry on the 4-hour drive to Riy@dh.
I am also planning to change my chair covers, so that's one sewing project. I'm also thinking of making a matching table cloth, so that's another thing.
I've cleaned up the guest room and now I'm thinking of what to put on the bedside table. A tissue box, at least.
I have this wall hanging that I've been working on since February, on and off. I am determined to finish it and have it up by the time the qatari goddess gets here.
On top of that, I have the day to day stuff. You know, cooking, laundry and nagging my kids to clean their room.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you might not see me around that much in the next few weeks.

Before I leave, a few random thoughts --

- My index finger hurts from being accidently poked by my needle.

- I think izani screams because I scream.

- If a person should be punished for allowing an inanimate object to have a name resembling our prophet's, shouldn't parents be punished for naming their children names resembling our prophet's but fail to raise them as good muslims?
I think the latter causes more damage than a teddy.

- Random shootings, identity theft, missing canoeist ... what is the world becoming?

- I am sick of cinnamon buns.

- I'll probably bake more cinnamon buns next week.

- Garlic+rosemary pounded to a pulp and mixed with oliveoil, rubbed on chicken, kept in freezer overnight, defrosted, baked at 180deg C for an hour .. is yummeh!

- I want to be in Jakarta instead.

- I want a kilim rug, but they're damn expensive. I'm saving up for it starting now.

- oh oh. I broke one of the links on my bracelet! (the one that taufik bought for me) Luckily, it happened while I was putting on bedsheets in the guestroom. Think of the horror if it had happened while I was out shopping!! :O I would have died!

- talking about shopping. I felt better about splurging on my new plates when I went to buy 3 plastic storage containers for SR35 and got on the bus to find one lady who bought not one, but 3 liz claiborne handbags.

I have to go cook dinner now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Yummeh Cinnabuns!

Do you like cinnamon buns/rolls? My husband buys one almost every week.

These buns were crusty, but soft on the inside. The frosting was creamy, slightly cheesy and not so sweet. The cinnamon wasnt strong, but identifiable. The balance of sweetness, spiciness, chewiness, creaminess and crunchiness was heavenly.
And the best part was that I made them myself! :D

nak resepi? You want the recipe?
nak ke? You want?
betul? really?

tee hee.

At my husband's favourite cinnamon roll store, they cost SR9 each. So i decided to g00gle for the recipe and I found one that claims to be closest to the brand my husband likes. I bought the required ingredients, omitted and substituted those that I could not find, and tried it out.
I am SO SO SO *SO* proud of myself. Can you tell?
tee hee *giggles with glee* tee hee.

This is the first time I've worked with yeast. This is the first time I used the dough hook on my mixer. This is the first time I've made anything that requires this many steps.
So forgive me if I'm a little bit smug about it.
tee hee *giggles*
The recipe is abit long, because there are many steps to it, but when you start making it, you'll see that it is really not that difficult to make. The kneading was a bit of work (unless you have a bread maker), but the end result is oh so worth it. It turned out so yummy even *I* was suprised.
I am presenting my modified recipe, with the suggested steps.
(Please note I don't have a kitchen scale, so I depend solely on my measuring cup and eyeballs.)

Cinnamon buns
Make Cream cheese frosting
Can be made in advance and kept refrigerated. I kept mine in a squeeze bottle for easy application.

150grams cream cheese (3/4 of the 200gram pack)
100grams butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (sifted to remove lumps)
1 tsp vanilla essence

- Soften cheese and butter to room temperature. Whip till well mixed and light.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and whip for a minute, add the rest and whip for another minute.
- Add vanilla and whip till white and fluffy.

Make Cinnamon filling
Can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Mix well:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 heaped tablespoons ground cinnamon

Make dough

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
100grams butter (1 stick)
2 tbsp yeast (I used SAF)
2 eggs (medium)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
4.5 to 5 cups all purpose flour (may vary depending on brand)

- In a saucepan, gently heat up milk, water and butter till butter melts.
- Take off of heat, let cool till liquid feels warm, then stir in the yeast till thoroughly dissolved.
- Pour the liquid into a mixing bowl, add in eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar. Mix well with a whisk.
- If using a mixer, use your dough hook to mix in the flour bit by bit. Alternatively you can also mix by hand.
- Once mixture gets really thick (usually by the time you add 4 cups of flour), start kneading in the rest of the flour by hand, bit by bit, until dough does not stick to hands or bowl.
- Stop adding flour and continue kneading by hand until dough becomes soft.

Make Rolls

100grams butter (1 stick) softened.

- Roll out the dough into a rectangle about half and inch thick.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread the butter evenly on the rectangle, except for the last 1 inch (on the long side) closest to you. The unbuttered edge will be used as a seal.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon filling on the buttered part of the dough, as evenly as possible.
- Roll up the dough as tightly as possible starting from the longest edge furthest to you, rolling towards you. Roll up completely and keep the unbuttered edge on the bottom to seal the dough.
- Use a really sharp knife, or thread, or dental floss, to trim off the uneven ends and then cut the long roll into even sized smaller rolls. (Use a ruler or some kind of guide lah.. I just eyeballed it).
- Arrange buns flat, about one inch apart from each other, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover with a clean lint-free cloth and let rise in a warm , non-drafty place for at least an hour till they double in size. While you wait, pre-heat oven to 325 deg Farenhite.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. (buns will expand while baking)

Assemble CinnaBuns

- While buns are still warm, spread with or squeeze on cream cheese frosting.
- Sprinkle with chopped roasted walnuts if you like (I like!)


You need 3 sticks of 100grams butter in total. Take it out of the fridge well in advance to soften them.
I divided my dough into two instead of making one huge roll.
You could of course add or reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe to your liking. I don't like mine to be too sweet, so the recipe here is the reduced version.

I know, the recipe looks daunting, but think about it - If a first-timer like me could make this, anyone can! :D
I've showed you mine, now show me yours!

p/s Lollies, you want this to be on your holiday menu? ;)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Plates

I know this is bad timing since OndeOnde just wrote about being thankful with whatever we have, but I cant help myself. *malu*

Yesterday while in Giant buying groceries I saw the prettiest dinner set! I had been wanting to buy a new dinner set since the ones I currently have for everyday use have been reduced to 3 chipped plates, and the ones that I use to serve guests is incomplete by several pieces because of mishaps involving my kids. (One glass mysteriously dissapeared and I dont know who's the culprit since it didnt break in front of me and no one wants to own up, so I'm guessing it's either the husband, or one of the guests...). Plus, this dinner set came with matching teapot, sugar and creamer pots!
Taufik didnt want to buy it initially, but after a few minutes of pouting, threats (I'll come back on my own the next day to buy it, if we don't buy this one I'll go to town and buy the thousand riyal ones) and a rational discussion (it's cheap, it's pretty, we need new plates anyway, I have been looking for a matching teapot-dinner set), he finally relented.
woo hooo!!

Tea in the garden, anyone?

Aren't they the prettiest things??
Boleh lah kan? Nak beli Wedgewood, Royal Doulton or Mikasa, kita tak mampu, so Sarah Made in China pun jadi lah... Janji makanan/minuman yang di hidang tu sedap, kan kan kan?
(It'll do.. I can't afford Wedgewood, Royal Doulton or Mikasa, so I'll be content with Sarah Made in China. Just as long as the food/drink served in it are delicious, right, right right?)

So who's coming over tea? ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pearl Jam vidoes anyone?

My current obsession is downloading PearlJam vidoes from u-toob.
Not being satisfied with just watching them on the site, I am downloading and saving them on my hard disk using this site.
Now I have an array of pearl jam videos in a folder labeled, what else, 'pearl jam' on my computer, and I can watch them whenever I want.. !


p/s Thanx, Firhad, for the links :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Beef Stew and Mashed Potatoes

Kel wrote a post a few weeks(months?) ago that got me craving for some stew with mashed potatoes. A few days later I made lamb stew but my husband brought the camera to work so I couldnt take a picture to make a post out of. Furthermore, I didnt make any mashed potatoes, we just ate it with garlic bread.
This week I had some beef leftover from making soy beef, so I decided to make beef stew, and I had some potatoes, so I also made spring onion mashed potatoes to go with the stew. The stew is easy to make, but it takes a while because you have to let it simmer for a while (hence the name 'stew'). I usually start making it in the morning to have it for lunch.

Beef Stew

125grams beef, cut into chunky cubes
2 tbsp plain flour
2 pip garlic sliced thinly
1 medium onion, cubed
1 carrot cubed
2 stalks celery cut into small chunks
1 red bell pepper, de-seed, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
1 stalk rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cups beef stock
1 can tomato soup
1 cup peas (frozen or ready to eat)
3tbsp oilive oil
sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Coat the beef with flour. Heat up the olive oil and toss around the beef in it till slightly browned.
Remove beef and set aside, without turning off the heat.
Saute garlic and onions till wilted.
Toss in the vegetables, bay leef and rosemary. Saute for 5 minutes.
Return the beef into the pot, pour over the beef stock and tomato soup. Scrape the bottom of the pot with your ladle as you stir to mix well.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer while covered for at least an hour or until beef is tender.
Add sugar (it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes), salt and pepper to your taste.
Toss in the peas.
Simmer uncovered till the stew reaches your desired thickness (I like mine slightly soupy).

Spring Onion Mashed Potatoes

One large potato or 2 medium sized potatoes
One stalk spring onion
a splash of milk
a pat of unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Boil till tender. Drain and return to pot.
Slice the spring onion into small pieces, toss into pot of hot potatoes.
Pour in milk. Add in butter and salt and pepper.
Use a masher to mash potatoes and ingredients and mix them around.

I ate the beef stew with the mashed potatoes only, but my kids ate them with some toasted bread.
Good dish to heat you up during the cold/rainy season :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

curing cravings and other conundrums

The only way to cure a senseless craving is to gorge until you're sick.
I am officially cured of the Lee Dong Wook obsession.
I will now return to obsessing only over my husband. *smacks lips*

This morning after the kids have left for school and Taufik has left for work, there was an unexpected ding dong on my doorbell. Peeking out from behind my curtains, I saw it was Afzal the bus driver.
Oh no, what have I forgotten now? I wasnt even watching anything remotely korean!
I was still in my jammies, so I just pulled an abaya over it and slipped on a scarf before I opened the door.
"Ma'am, Anis sleep in bus" , he said.
So, what's new, I thought. She is always sleeping on the bus on the way to and from school.
"The bus monitor all finished, I come back, hear uhuk uhuk", he continued.
uh oh.
"I think what sound? who? I see, Anis!", he flailed his arms indicating suprise.
"You mean she is still on the bus??" I asked him, half-shocked, half-embarassed.
"She is on bus, sleeping!!", he answered in his half screaming, half laughing way.
So I went upstairs to pick up Izani who was watching Tikkabilla and walked to the bus with my jammies peeking out under my abaya. Thank God for abayas.
Afzal the bus driver made another attempt to wake up Anis and by the time I got to the bus, she was awake and was standing on the bus steps almost crying.
"why arent you in school?" i asked, trying not to sound too angry.
"nobody woke me up" , she cried.
Poor Anis.
I asked her why her brothers didnt wake her up, and she said they didnt sit with her, they sat with their friends. They're surely gonna get an earful from me when they come home.
Obviously the bus monitor also didnt check if all kids had left the bus. I tried calling the lady on duty today but she had gone out. I'm not going to scold her or anything, just wanted to point out the possibility of this hapenning again, perhaps even to another child, so we bus monitors have to be more vigilant. Plus, i need to tell her that Anis didnt make it to school so that she wont be searching for Anis when she goes to pick them up this afternoon.

meh.. so i guess that's another adventure in mommy world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Easy Peasy Soy Beef

(a.k.a Keranamu Lee Dong Wook)

Watching all those Korean dramas had me craving for soy beef. They're more like Japanese than Korean, actually, but eating them in a bowl with steaming hot rice using chopsticks is enough to make me believe that I was having my lunch in Seoul.

Easy Peasy Soy Beef

125grams beef, sliced thinly
2 tbsp sweet
dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce (or salty soy sauce)
2 pips garlic
chopped finely
1 inch ginger sliced thinly
1 medium sized onion sliced
into rings or wedges
pepper taste
2 tbsp olive oil (or vetgetable oil)
optional -
1/2 cup beef stock or water
1 carrot cut to your
preferred shape
a handful of french/holland beans, cut in an angle into 1
inch pieces.

Mix beef well with the sauces,
garlic and ginger. Let marinade for at least half an hour.
Using medium
heat, heat oil in a pan/pot with a lid, add in the beef and all the marinade.
Stir for a whiile, then cover to pull out the juices. Ocassionaly stir to ensure
even cooking.
If you like the beef to be slightly dry, cook till sauce is
If you like to have a little sauce with the beef, add beef stock or
water, and bring to boil. Season to taste.
Add in onions and other
vegetables, let simmer till vegetables are cooked, stirring ocassionally.
Serve with steaming hot white rice.

My vegetables got slightly overcooked with this one.. :P
But Yummeh nevertheless :)
To get really thin strips of beef, slice them while they're 3/4 to half frozen, with a really sharp knife.
You can also splash a few drops of sesame oil towards the end and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds before serving to give it a chinoise edge.
Add in sliced dried chillies with the vegetables to get a spicy zing.
The thinly sliced ginger tastes a little bit like the pickled ginger you find in sushi restaurants.

aww man, I'm getting hungry again.

Happy trying :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

apakejadah?? (wtf??)

I dont usually comment on how the S@udis run their country, but this piece of news really got me pi**ed off.
To summarize, a 19yr old was r@ped a year ago, and after the trial of her r@pe, the panel of judges sentenced the men involved to prison time ranging from 2 to 9 years, and she was punished with 90 lashes.
Her lawyer and her protested and went to the papers, so the judge increased the sentence to 200 lashes and her lawyer was stripped off his legal license.

Apakejadah nya??? (the malay equivalent to 'wtf??' but without the expletives)

Granted that she was punished for breaking a pre-existing law (un-married women are not allowed to travel without a male relative in this country) and not for supposedly 'inviting the r@pe', but still, there is some thing called 'discretion' and 'compassion'. The girl had been violated and traumatized, for god's sakes, have some feelings. Yes, she had broken the law, but it's not like she had robbed a bank or killed someone.
And if they're so hell bent on implementing islamic law, why weren't the men stoned to death for their crime?
Sometimes I wonder what kind of upbriging these muttawas have. Did they not have mothers, sisters? Do they not have daughters? They seem to have such low opinion of women and such a high opinion of themselves. Did they not know that even arrogance is considered a despicable trait by Allah?

grrrrrrrrrr... even now I am still seething!!
grrr.. if i were the hulk, i'd be green and bursting out of my underpants by now.
nasib baik lah ada Lee Dong Wook to cheer me up..

We're planning to have lunch with one of our S@udi friends this weekend. I'm gonna ask him what he thinks of all this.

Edited to add:

What angers me as much as reading this news, is reading some of the reactions expressed about this news. While i can understand the anger for the injustice (because, as you can tell, I am angry too), I cannot understand the muslim bashing.
I see comments all over the internet saying "This is proof that islam is not a peaceful religion", "Muslims are all sexist pigs", "Saudi = Bad, Saudi = Islam, therefore Islam = Bad" and other hateful comments along those lines.

Well, have I got news for you:

1. Saying Saudi equals Islam is like saying America equals Christianity. Saudi laws, even though they claim to be 'based on Islamic Sharia law', is not purely Islamic Sharia law. They are very much ingrained with arabic tribal culture and practices. Same goes for any laws in any country. Even Malaysian laws (which claim to be an Islamic country) are not fully islamic.
2. Muslims, and Saudis are human. Believe it or not. Muslims make mistakes, have bad judgement and sin just like the rest of the world. Just because a few muslims are jerks, doesnt mean every muslim is a jerk. Just because a few saudi men are chauvinist pigs who qould put down a woman every chance they can get, doesnt mean all of them are. I've met Saudi men who go out of their way to help me and Izani cross the street without even waiting or expecting a thankyou, just like I've met Malaysian/european/american men who turn a blind eye when someone is obviously in need of help.
3. If i were to judge all christians just like muslims are judged nowadays, I would have to think that all christians are war-mongering, money hungry folks who dont care about anything else but themselves. But I dont.

With the vast availability of information the web, and the opportunity to actually get to know people from different backgrounds, religion, culture, country, beliefs, upbringing, races, profession, music and food preferences and sexual orientation, I am suprised that some people are still ignorant.

as PD would put it, So ner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tadi, time tengah syiok mahsyuk tengok ceria korea lagi (Just now while I was immersed in watching yet another korean drama), suddenly someone ding donged my front door bell.
I was irritated and wondered who in the world would be ringing my doorbell at 2pm. I thought to myself, it couldnt be my kids coz they dont get home till 3pm, when the realization hit me like a ton of camel dung on a hot day.

I am the bus monitor today and I was supposed to be on the bus at 2pm to pick up my kids from school!!

It was the bus driver at my front door!!!

I jumped off the sofa, ran to my room tearing off my clothes and changed into my pants and long shirt at a speed rivalling The Flash, shrieking dammit dammit dammit while listening to the doorbell being ding donged more urgently each time and quickly wrapped a scarf around my head, scooping izani up as I went downstairs and opened the door, screaming "Sorrrreeeeeeeee!" at the bus driver. I quickly slipped on my shoes, grabbed my sunglasses and sling bag and izani's faux crocs.
I boarded the bus, apologizing profusely to the bus driver for my tardiness. He asked whether I was asleep and I couldnt lie and told him I was watching TV and totally forgot. I commended myself for being able to get ready at lightning speed and thanked God that I wasnt in my baju tidor and bedak sejuk sambil makan limau, but I still felt bad for being too engrossed in the korean drama that I neglected my duty. I was never ever late for the bus before. In fact, I had always been the one waiting for the bus instead of the other way round. What is wrong with me????
ini semua penangan drama korea nih...
I nursed my guilt all the way to school, where to add to the pain, we were not allowed to park at our usual spot because we were late. We had to park outside where the traffic is higher than inside. Due to that, I had to carry a sleepy izani (bus rides put him to sleep) over my shoulder and walk to the gate to herd up all the little kids and sheperd them to the bus, praying with each step that none of them gets run over or something. I had to post one of the older kids to stand near our usual parking spot to tell the other older kids that the bus was parked outside, not inside.
My only consolation is that I got everyone home safely and the only thing that was lost was izani's left faux croc. (RM5.99 from Giant Kelana Jaya).

Ya ampunnnn aku sudah tobat!
Besok kena limit to satu disc aje. Takleh lebih2. Tonggang terbalik dunia aku di buat nya!

I have to repent. It's like worse than being a crack head.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hantu Korea

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for the past three days. I was held hostage by hantu korea (korean ghost). It came in a pack of four dvds, labelled 'My Girl'. I spent three whole days watching all four of them (that's 16 hours, my friends).
teruk betul penangan drama korea nih.
It was all out of curiosity at first. I caught Madam Y on-line in the middle of one night, and found out she was not working, but actually watching korean dramas. She passionately recommended that I watched My Girl. Even gave me the Yewtoob urls for it. A few weeks ago, I saw that a friend had the MyGirl box set, so I borrowed it from her. I started watching it on saturday afternoon, and I could not stop!!
haiyoh!! Tengok sampai tak ingat nak masak lunch untuk budak2!
Best jugaklah cerita MyGirl nih. The drama was not bad. It is a romantic comedy. The girl was cute and a little crazy, the guy very serious and uptight. Mushy and dramatic moments later in the episodes were interlaced with comic relief from smaller supportive characters. A lot of funny moments which got me cackling with laughter, terkekek-kekek. It is always fun watching romance develop but I lose interest once the guy gets the girl and all the swooning and mushy-mushy stuff starts. Thankfully the tear-inducing bits of the drama was all in the later episodes so i endured them jus to see how it all ends.
It also helped that the main male character resembled Taufik a bit. Thin, lanky, serious at work and very stingy. oh and of course, very easy on the eyes :) tee hee.
One thing I noticed that was really cute about the koreans is how innocent and naively the are about public displays of affection. If this was a 'western' tv show, the characters would be making out or even hitting the sack the moment they proclaim their love for each other. The couple in this drama kissed only 3 times (yes I counted), and the rest of the time they'd shyly hold hands. Even then, the kissing is very juvenile, tight lipped and not sensual at all. The girl's simple act of putting her head on the guy's shoulder was surrounded with romantic tinkling of piano keys and blurring of images. so cute.
tee hee. Maybe I'm only surprised because I watch too much american tv shows. tee hee.
I have another korean drama to go through, called 'Stained Glass'. I need to remind myself to pace it this time. I can always pause or stop and watch it bit by bit.

Friday, November 16, 2007

today ...

... she would have been thirty six.

Somehow I still miss her.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

G1rls G0ne W1ld, Ir@qi Style

If there are any niqab w(f)earing women who read my blog, please forgive me if you are offended.
I just thought this was really funny.

It's Evolution Baby

You see that widget labelled as 'Pearl Jam' on the right column of this blog?
Well, it contains news feed about, who else, pearl jam.
About a month ago I had clicked on the link for the video for Hard Sun and watched it and towards the end of the video there was a website address of the fan who made the video. I had saved the website address, but didnt get a chance to visit it then because I got hungry thinking about Chris McEndless (spelling?) and how he died of starvation.

I finally visited the Pearl Jam - Evolution website a week ago, and I have been hooked!
The site is in portugese (I think, coz it's almost like spanish but it's not really spanish) but some articles he posted there is in english so you wont get totally lost. There are a lot of videos and music to download and they are all of good quality.
I am downloading like crazy :)

Thanks so much, Gabriel :)

p/s wow, has it been 17 years??

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Emm?

Having gone to school at the Un1versity of Ill1nois at Urb@na-Ch@mpaign where 'telnet' was born at their National Centre of Supercomputing Application (NCSA), I am no stranger to chatting on-line.
I remember when chatting online was not done on a graphical browser but on VAX and UNIX machines where everything comes out line by line on your green and black screen (or black and cream if you're using a mac). There were no animated smilies or sound bytes. I remember when there were only 17 people online and most of them were from netherlands. I remember how excited I was to ping 'mto5764' (read: Taufik, who was then my boyfriend studying in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and find out he was online and to be able to talk to him without having to pay a cent in phone bills.
To use a computer, I had to walk to the NCSA building, get into their lab in the basement, sign up and choose among rows and rows of available screens with keyboards that are connected to a server (it didnt have it's own CPU). Even if you had a computer at home (for word processing purposes), back then you dont even have the means, nor the infrastructure to dial-up and log in into the server.
In less than a year, the number of users on-line grew and suddenly there were irc channels, even 2 dedicated to Malaysians, mostly filled by malaysian students studying all over the united states. Still there were no graphical interface. You had to type in a command to see who's online, or ping to see if your friend is.
Back then there was no ambiguity. If you were online, it means you are there and available to communicate.

With the advent of chat softwares with graphical user interface, with a click of a button, you're not only logged in, but you'll be able to see who else is logged in and there's a status, to tell you if your friend is available or not. There are bells and whistles, nudges and honks for you to use, not to mention the smilies.
With a computer in nearly every household and internet connection easily and readily available, almost everyone is online, and can be online all. the. time.
With all these, I get a little confused though. Like, when your friend is online and the status is not shown as 'Busy' or 'Idle', does it really mean she is available to chat? I don't know. Maybe she's busy reading blogs. Maybe she's online but doesnt feel like talking. Maybe she's working on an assignment. Maybe she's getting ready to go to a 'kelas karipap'. (tee hee). Maybe she's available to talk, but only to specific persons and not to you. Maybe she's exchanging romantic french phrases with her new boyfriend. *shrug*. Who knows, really?
I could always venture to say "hello" or "assalamu-alaikum", but usually I would hesitate, for fear that I might be disturbing, or worse, intruding.
I always feel bad when I try to get a conversation started and there are no response. I mean, I wouldn't know what happened.. did their internet connection get cut off? Did their boss pop in unannounced? Did they have to leave suddenly? Was I disturbing them? Am I not a good conversationalist? Or is my internet connection all wonkers?
Somehow even with more visibility, I find it all to be more and more ambiguous.

I am really not complaining. I'm just stating my personal observation.
Perhaps I will find out that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Perhaps if you see me on-line and I dont say hi, you'd understand why.
Perhaps if I do say hi to you, you'd take the time to say hi back.
Perhaps you'd also update your status so that I know when not to say hi to you.
Gosh, it's starting to sound like I *AM* complaining.
tee hee.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Come to our open house!

If you have not heard yet, the Malaysian EFX2 members are having a virtual open house to celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitri on Wednesday 7th November, 4pm-5pm (+8 GMT) at the Malaysian EFX2 blog.

We're going to have a special post with pictures of the hosts and hostesses, and the food spread, and our guests who drop by can post their messages and pictures in the comments section.

You are most welcomed to come, to just take a peek or even stay, have a virtual bite and join in the chat.

We're looking forward to seeing you and the usual suspects :)

I'm bringing desserts! :D

Thursday, November 01, 2007

spiderman and bumblebee

no, not Bumblebee from Tr@nsformers, the black and yellow striped kind.

First, let me answer Ben's question: The Kingd0m does not officially celebrate Halloween, but compounds that are mostly filled with expatriates, would usually have some sort of a shindig, or organize a trick-or-treating parade to show off the kids' costumes. Most of the international schools also celebrate halloween on some level. This year, the British school allowed the younger kids to come to school in their costumes instead of uniforms. The kids in the american school, who dont wear uniforms anyway, wore their costumes to school.

I have never bought costumes for my kids because we dont really celebrate halloween, so they were embarassed to join the trick-a-treating last year.
This year was a bit different, though.
It just so happens that one of my egyptian friends who had moved away this summer gave a spiderman costume to Ihsan. Izani got a bumblebee costume from Che'Ngah (My sister who does not blog) last year and he finally could fit into it. Ilham had bought a Bekham football shirt in florence (pasar malam punya lah) and said he could just put on shorts and a his football boots, and Anis - well as you saw in the previous post, she wore the kebaya bandung we bought her in Jakarta.
So this year, the kids begged and begged to go trick-a-treating.
I was reluctant, thinking about the bags and bags of useless candy they'd be bringing home and the cavities it would produce. And how the kids would be on a sugar high and be hyper for the rest of the evening.
But two of my neighbours' kids kept calling them asking when can they come out and they keep asking me can they go please please please????
So I gave in.
I told them to stay on the sidewalk and watch out for cars. I told them not to eat any candy till they come home and show it to me first. I told them to stick together. I told them to only ding-donged those houses with their porch lights on (that was the agreed code thru-out the compound).
Gosh were they excited!! They picked out the biggest supermarket plastic bags they could find in the kitchen and happily skipped out the door.
About an hour or so later (my compound is not that big) they came home all happy and sweaty and rosy cheeked. They showed me their loot. A bag of chips each (which I let them eat right away). A few galaxy bars. 2 mini-bags of m&ms, 2 mini bags of skittles, assorted toffee and hard candy, lotsa gum, a chocolate cookie (?), and lots and lots of lollipops.
Suffice to say I dont have to buy anymore candy for the rest of the year and hopefully next year too.

p/s izani didnt go trick-a-treating. He stayed home with me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Princess and Prawns

Anis's halloween costume
kebaya bandung bought in jakarta last raya haji, hair net to make a bun, silk flower hair tie from CityPlaza, a small faux tiara (so small you cant even see it from here)

Today's lunch
Leftover sambal tumis udang (prawns in thick spicy sauce), chickpeas , chopped cilantro and crunchy celery, tossed with spaghetti.
Yummeh. *smacks lips*

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Malaysi@n vs Fil1pin0 agar-agar

Last weekend I learnt the hard way that not all agar-agars are alike.

After successfully making a no-bake cheesecake (yes! a no-bake cheesecake!) and chocolate pudding by modifying the panna cotta recipe, I confidently made both of the dishes (yes, ladies and gentlemen, BOTH) with intentions of bringing it to a gathering.
I had run out of regular Mal@ysian agar-agar (the stringy kind that look more like colorless raffia than food), so I used Fil1pino agar-agar (looks like rectangular blocks of thin flaky plastic) instead. Assuming they were the same, I simply used the same measurements - 1/2 cup of agar-agar to 5 cups of liquid.
I was wrong in my assumptions.
So. wrong!
My pudding and cheesecake didnt set!!!! :(
They were still wobbly and runny even after hours and hours in the fridge.
I even put my pudding in the freezer when I got to the host's house. It hardened a bit but softened not more than 15 minutes after I took it out. Everyone thought it was some kind of porridge! I did not dare to take out the cheescake from it's mold.
Utterly embarassed, I packed everything, even the leftovers, and brought them home.
The failed chocolate pudding is now transferred into my ice lolly molds. At least my kids can have it one of these afternoons.
The cheesecake ... is still in my freezer.. *hangs head in shame*

I vowed to find out how to use the Fil1pino agar-agar. I'll be damned if I'm gonna be defeated by it.
Being an engineer by training, I took the empirical method to find out the perfect ratio of Fil1pino agar-agar to liquid. I carefully measured the agar-agar and the liquids, tried out the smallest ratio first before adding more liquids, until I got to the desired result.
Using only a small amount of agar-agar for each experiment, I managed to achieve success by using only half a packet of the agar-agar.

Here's the magic equation when you're using the Fil1pino agar-agar :
1/2 cup of agar-agar to 2 cups liquid

So if you're ever stuck with using Fil1pino agar-agar instead of the Malaysi@n kind, you know what to do :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ilham's hand singing

Ilham really loved the hand puppet show ben did, so he decided to make one of his own.
Obviously it's not as sophisticated (no disco balls! ;) ), but I thought it was pretty hilarious, especially since he chose to sang himself. I was quite suprised that his voice is not bad :) (and that he knew the words to the songs he sang)

Enjoy the show... !

Do you recognize the songs?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

L@cy White Indonesi@n Keb@ya

There you go.

(sorry for having to mask the title with aliases. I dont want this post to get unwanted attention *grin*)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Easy Peasy Kuah Kacang (Peanut Sauce)

I hope you guys weren't holding your breath waiting for this. Here's the post on the peanut sauce.

Kuah Kacang (coo-ah car-chunk, Kuah=Sauce, kacang=peanuts) is Peanut Sauce in malay.
There are many versions of this recipe, ranging from throw-everything-in-the-pot-easy to roast-or-saute-each-exotic-ingredient-complicated (which is not really that complicated, actually). My version is like just half a notch up the former in the difficulty scale, simply because I don't like the taste of raw onions/shallots.

Easy Peasy Kuah Kacang

1 cup roasted peanuts (ground to your preferred texture)
5-8 shallots
2-3 garlic pips
5-10 dried chillies (boiled to rehydrate and soften)
1 - 2 cups coconut milk (depends on how creamy and how thick you want the sauce to be)
3-4 tablespoons palm sugar (can be substituted with brown sugar or combination of brown sugar and mollasses)
a few tablespoons of oil for sauteing
salt to taste
one stalk lemongrass (optional, but makes a world of a difference)
optional: 3 shallots and one garlic, thinly sliced and fried till brown, crispy and fragrant)

Ground shallots, garlic and dried chillies to a fine paste.
Saute paste in oil till fragrant and a thin film of oil rises to the top.
Add in the coconut milk, ground peanuts and palm sugar. If using lemongrass, break with the back of a knife and add to pot.
Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring ocassionally, till a thin film of oil form on the surface. Taste and season to your liking.
Optional : before serving, sprinkle crispy fried shallots and garlic on top

Kuah kacang, served with rice cakes and spicy beef floss

This sauce goes really well with rice cakes, as a dip for raw crunchy vegetables like cucumbers, carrots and onions, savoury fritters and fish/seafood crackers or even fried firm tofu, and also on grilled or barbecued meats.

Okay as usual, side notes:
. I used salted dry roasted peanuts (the kind you find at the junkfood section), so I usually taste the sauce before deciding whether it needs more salt. You can also use honey roasted peanuts, which means you can use less palm sugar.
. Brown sugar + mollasses (2 parts to 1) is the closest substitute to palm sugar that I've discovered. It creates the same sweet earthy flavour.
. I have known people who have substituted the whole peanuts+palm sugar combo with chunky peanut butter.
. Speaking of texture, I like my peanut sauce to have chunky bits in them, so I use my mortar+pestle instead of the food processor to get varying degrees of fineness in my ground peanuts. Finely ground peanuts also acts as a thickener to the sauce.
. Since I was cooking for kids, I removed the seeds from my dried chillies, and didnt use as much as other people would. You could adjust the spiciness to your liking.
. I have never tried substituting the dried chillies with chilli/chipotle powder, but I guess you could if you wanted to. (Tell me if this works :) )
. I like my peanut sauce to be slightly runny, so I use a lot of coconut milk. You can use less or thicker coconut milk to make a thick sauce with more body, or use more finely ground peanuts.
. You wont believe what a stalk of lemongrass can do to your peanut sauce! Another good addition is one or two pieces of kaffir lime leaves - the fragrance will bowl you over.
. I really like biting into crunchy bits of crispy fried shallots or garlic in my peanut sauce especially if I'm eating it with satay (Malaysian grilled skewered meat), but if you're not sure, put it on the side and decide later.

Happy Trying, and tell me how yours turn out!

Finn Finish First in Formula One

Before I post the peanut sauce recipe, I would like to express my jubilations for what hapenned in Brazil yesterday.

I had actually lost hope towards the end of the season. I thought "Maybe next year". But then China happened.. and I actually thought it was going to be Alonso again. But then yesterday.. dayummmm. What a race what a race!!
Even though it was expected that Massa would give way to Kimi, I still had heart palpitations and whooped in pleasure when Kimi passed him coming out of the final pit stop.
Yay for Kimi!!!

tee hee!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Raya Sakan (Maximum Celebration)

To say that I had raya sakan (celebrated to the max) would've been an understatement.
Let me give you the rundown:

Friday, Eid day 1
Outfit : Faux songket black kebaya.
Taufik woke Ilham and Ihsan up at 5 and they went for Eid prayers. Made Rendang Tok Cikgu Munah, Peanut Sauce, and boiled Nasi Impit Nona. Had an intimate family breakfast, then salam-salam and took photographs. Made Creme jelly with fruit cocktail (used the panna cotta recipe, just added canned mixed fruits). Lepak (lazed around) while the boys went for Friday prayers. Went to Tok Penghulu's house for lunch, ate lamb briyani and nasi impit with kuah kacang. Lepak some more watching Buletin Utama on SyokTv. Then we left for the raya melayu gathering in Khaloud (that's what the milk+fruit jelly was for). Ate too much.

Saturday, Eid day 2
Outfit : beaded black abaya
Made Agar-agar Sirap (Red rose flavoured jelly) and rice krispy treats. Went to Kak Zie's house in Ar@mco, Dh@hran. Ate really good mee rebus, laksa johor, nasi minyak, and a myriad of cookies. Went to Kak F's and ABC's house and ate some more.

Sunday, Eid day 3
Outfit : Lacy white Indonesian kebaya with orange-brown batik sarong with matching long scarf.
Made more rendang cikgu munah, and fried some keropok (fish crackers). Went for lunch at Kak F Malik's house. Had chicken briyani, more nasi impit and kuah kacang, and a yummy bingka telur. Came home to fry some noodles coz had guests coming over. Taught Ilham how to make a simple dessert with cupcakes, hazelnut-chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Went to Kak Zara's house for dinner. Had chicken briyani again, Ilham's dessert and more raya cookies.

Monday, Eid day 4
Outfit : White Next top with blue-white batik sarong with matching long scarf.
Ilham made his dessert again. Went to Sukh's house in Ras T@nura for lunch, bearing the dessert Ilham made. Then came back to Dh@hran, to one house for chicken rice, to another house for more chicken rice and finally ended up the evening at another house for laksa trengganu (YUMS!) and bihun sup.

Tuesday, Eid day 5
Outfit : spagetti straps and jeans under black abaya.
The men had to go to work, so finally, a respite from stuffing my face with food. Brought the kids to Dh@hran Mall, sent my abaya for alteration and had lunch at Pizza Factory. The kids had pizza and I was glad to sink my teeth into a simple salad. (Bought a new pair of sunglasses to replace the one Izani broke and a new outfit. yippee!). Made a simple dinner of white rice and chicken in soy sauce.

Wednesday, Eid day 6
Outift : dark blue Xanaka shirt on black flared jean skirt with emboridery accents.
Went to Dh@hran Mall again to pick up my abaya. Shopped for groceries abit coz we were going to have guests on thursday. Bought KFC for lunch. Fried prawn fritters for tea, and then went for Dinner at Tok Penghulu's open house. Ate nasi minyak and cake. Talked and ate too much.

Thursday, Eid day 7
Outfit : Brown/black top with black pants.
Made bergedil, sup soto almost-madura-style, and chocolate panna cotta (sinful!). Entertained guests for lunch. Cleaned up the house, then felt like eating chocolate cake, so I baked one to bring to another open house invitation. Went to Izan Napi's open house for dinner. Had Roti Jala, Bihun Sup, Pai tee and the chocolate cake I made, which didnt turn out so bad. Izan's raya cookies were also very yummeh. Watched a stupid-funny melayu scary movie.

Friday, Eid Day 8
Outfit : Dark blue Xanaka shirt with blue-white batik sarong with matching long scarf.
Had lunch at Moghul. Made some macaroni with cream sauce to bring to Ras T@nura for Su-Harun's open house. Ate laksa penang, Nasi Minyak Trengganu and 3 different versions of banana cake. Went to Kak Izah's open house, she managed to make bihun sup even though she said she had a fever. Admired pretty things. Went home early to sleep coz the next day school resumes.

Saturday, Eid day 9, First day of school after eid holiday.
Outfit : jammies for the first half of the day, t-shirt and jeans for the rest. :)
Glad that the week was over. I have gained god knows how many kilos from the constant eating. Resolved to go for a walk in the afternoons, but didnt manage to do it. Internet was down, so could not blog.

This weekend I have 2 more invitations, and I plan to invite some people over for a light lunch. Don't know what to cook yet. Taufik is asking for more Rendang Tok Cikgu Munah and Soto Madura.

How was your eid?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Eid peek

pictures from first day:

The 'spread' on my table on eid morning.

Not really a 'spread'.. just 4 dishes. Clock wise from left - Sambal daging (beef floss), bought by the kilo from a friend when I was in Malaysia recently. Kuah kacang (Peanut sauce) , I'll post the recipe one of these days, ben. Nasi impit (rice cakes), from Nona, pre-packed in plastic and just boiled for an hour. Rendang Tok Cikgu Munah (Chicken in spicy thick coconut gravy), an obligatory dish. "Cikgu Munah" is my mom-in-law.

The Taufik family in one of the better lighted corners in our living room. (L-R: Anis, Ilham, Izani, Taufik, Elisa, Ihsan)

We had to prop the camera on one of the sofas to take this picture.

Can't blog long. Have to cook for another gathering. I promised the host I'd bring something for dessert.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tomorrow is Eid!!


*runs arounds like a chicken without a head*

I was like lepak-ing (lazing around) in front of the TV, confident aje that tomorrow is still going to be Ramadhan, when Taufik got an sms whishing him Eid Mubarak.
So we changed to the channel that airs live footage of prayers in Makkah.
Lo and behold, we hear the words "eid" and "jumaah" and "mubarak" and a few minutes later, the takbir, salutations welcoming the first of syawal.

My kids went "yay!! tomorrow's Raya!!"
and I automatically made a list in my head:
- have to cut chicken
- have to make rendang Tok cikgu munah
- have to boil ketupat
- have to buy peanuts
- have to make peanut sauce
- have to check if kids' clothes fit and needs mending
- have to iron clothes
- have. to. PANICCCCCC!!!!!

(obviously, 'have to blog' came first.. heh heh)

so okay. i dont know whether I'll have time to blog in the next few days since I'll be busy making the obligatory visits to friends houses and stuffing my face with food and food and more food. (heh heh I typed it the other way round at first)

Have fun while I'm away.
Eid Mubarak!!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

eid mubarak

Mintak maaf segala yang tersilap tulis, tersilap comment, ter-over menyakat, ter-guris perasaan, ter-gelak, ter-baling biri-biri, ter-cucuk, ter-conteng dinding, ter-hantar kek atau roti, ter-derma ikan, ter-kacau on YM semasa sedang sibuk, dan segala yang ter ter dan yang sengaja sengaja..

Kalau makan best-best tu, jangan lah lupa pada saya yang besar kemungkinan akan makan best-best jugak.. tee hee!

Drive Safely during the holidays! :D

Easy Peasy Almond Cookies

As usual, background story first:
I saw pictures of delectable almond cookies on Hart's blog and asked for the recipe. She sent me a scanned page off of Chef Wan's book, where there were a few recipes for different almond cookies. I chose the easiest one (Almond Rings) and decided to try it out. I only did one slight modification to the amount of sugar used. Oh and I changed how the cookies were formed.
(Hart takes beautiful pictures, by the way, and we've been friends since the recipe exchange :) )

Easy Peasy Almond Cookies

3/4 cup (150g) butter @room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup powdered or fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white, slightly beaten, for dipping
crushed almonds for decoration

Cream butter, sugar, egg yolk and almond essence.
Add flour, ground almonds and salt, mix well.
Form dough into a ball, wrap in saran wrap (plastic sheet) and chill for 1 hour.
Take spoonfulls of dough and form into quarter (20sen) sized thick discs, dip in egg whites and roll in crushed almonds.
Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 175deg C or 375degF until golden.
Makes about 5 dozen.

The original recipe required 1/4 cup of sugar, but I had accidently poured more and was too lazy to take out the excess and put it back into the sugar container so i just used the 1/3 cup I had accidently measured out. The original instructions also told me to form the dough into rings, but somehow my dough was a bit crumbly do I decided to form them into flat balls/thick discs instead.
I did not wait till my cookies turned golden brown coz the bottom of my cookies were starting to burn (perhaps because I used the black non-stick baking tray?). The moment my kitchen smelled like popcorn (roughly 12 minutes), I took the cookies out of the oven.

Easy Peasy Yummeh Cruncheh Almond Cookies

The result was a very mildly sweet and buttery cookie that was crunchy and melts in your mouth. It was almost like kuih bangkit but butter-flavoured. Or biskut arab but crunchy and light.
I like!!
I am actually considering making another batch :)

This is also a good recipe to try out with your kids. It is simple enough, except for the forming bit (coz the dough was crumbly). Ilham and Ihsan helped me dip the cookies in egg whites and almonds and alerted me when they started 'smelling popcorn'.

Happy Trying and Eid Mubarak!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Power to the People!

In my family of outspoken and clearly opinionated members of society, I have always been known as the 'apathetic one'. Or maybe the 'apolitical one'. Which one, I forgot.
What I mean is that I was always the one who would not state any affiliation to any political party or persons, while one of my sisters would actually be a committee in one.

But I have taken enough political science courses (err... one course) and watched enough movies to know that what happens in court does not only affect the people who go to court but everyone in the whole country. Rulings passed in one case can be referenced to and be used as a guidance for rulings in future cases. Rulings can sometimes even change laws, change lives. (Have you watched Cold Mountain?).
What goes on in court is no small matter. Judges have a very important job that shape the future of the country. So they need to be compassionate, honest, responsible, impartial and most of all, they need to have integrity.
Unfortunately, it seems that our judges have been anything but the above. Or at least we suspect them to be. Whether they are or they are not, someone needs to find the truth, and if it needs fixing , someone needs to fix it, and restore our confidence in the judiciary system.

So that is why I am now asking you to support this petition for a Royal Commision to inquire on the state of our judicial system. (If you get a headache reading the bombastic Malay version, read the English version).
We have got till Raya to sign the petition. To sign up in support of this petition, please send your name and i.c. number to :

Come on.
It's almost like, if you hear that your children's school teacher is a paedophile, wouldn't you do something to confirm it? Wouldnt you ask the head master to find out the truth? Wouldnt you expect him to do something? Before anything bad happens to your children? It's the same thing.
So go read the petition, and send your name and i.c. as a sign of support!
For our children, for our country.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

what is "iftar buffet"?

In the previous post, [URL=""]Deej[/URL] asked me to explain what is "iftar buffet".

Well, DJ, the only other thing close to an "iftar buffet" in the US would be the lunch buffets they have in Las Vegas hotels.
"Iftar" is the arabic word for the breaking of fast. During the month of Ramadhan on the Islamic calendar, muslims are obliged to fast (Arabic - "Sawm") from dawn to dusk. We are encouraged to eat right before dawn (called "Sahur"), abstain from eating or drinking for the rest of the day, and is encouraged to eat the very moment the sun sets at dusk.
By right, we are encouraged to be moderate, to break our fast with some dates and water and a light (or normal) meal, because it is really an exercise to 'cleanse' our spiritual and physical self , but.. humans that we are, we are often tempted to be a little bit of a glutton, I'm afraid.
So during the month of Ramadhan, most hotels or food establishments would offer Iftar Buffets, a special buffet spread set only for the month of Ramadhan, open from about half an hour before dusk and closed till whenever you feel you've stuffed yourself enough. In S@udi, some stablishments (especially hotels) even offer Sahur Buffets, that start at 1am and lasts till dawn (when you're supposed to start fasting). Some hotels even go as far as offering a special Ramadahan package that includes iftar and sahur buffet, and a room to stay in for the night.
As I described in the previous posts, each establishment would try to make their buffet special, either by offering more food, or special types of food.
If you google for "Ramadhan Buffet" you'd prolly get an idea of what is offered. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

iftar buffet

Last Friday, for the first time since I've spent Ramadhan here, we went for an iftar buffet at a hotel in Kh0bar.

When we were living in Malaysia, we go to an iftar buffet at least once during the month of ramadhan, either because Sm1th sponsors one, or we are invited by one of the other service companies. It is almost always fun, with a myriad of choices of food for breaking our fasts, main dishes for dinner and desserts to cleanse our palates with. The larger buffets would have all sorts of traditional malay fare from all sorts of noodles cooked in all sorts of ways and all sorts of rice cooked in all sorts of ways and all sorts of meats cooked in all sorts of ways.

The one we had on Friday was at Le Gulf Mer1dian, which is one of the more expensive hotels in Kh0bar. The price per person was much much more expensive than in KL. I think if I paid the same amount of money in KL, I would be dining in Carc0sa, or Ist4na. The banquet room was really nice. Each table had one of those arabesque lamps, a jug of zam-zam water, a pot of mint tea, a plate of dates, a plate of dried apricots, and decorated with a vase filled with white orchids.(sorry, they didnt allow taking pictures) Each party was given their own table, even if you're just a party of one (they give you a small table of course), I guess because the ar@bs really like their privacy. Fortunately though, there were no enclosed booths :).

I was a little dissapointed by the buffet spread though. The appetizer section had several types of hummous, tahinis and dips, salads, tabouleh , fried eggplants, smoked salmon, poached salmon and shrimp cocktail, but .. meh.. maybe I was haunted by the food in Malaysian buffets, so I wasnt really impressed (but I still ate a lot of smoked salmon! muahahaha) I kept yearning for mee rebus or something. The dinner buffet spread had Laham Mandi (lamb cooked in rice), which was yummy, several choices of grilled meat dishes and the obligatory breads and samosas.

What redeemed this buffet offering was the dessert selection. Oh. My. God. You would have gained 5 kilos just by looking at it. Lots of decadent cheesecakes, syrup laden pastries, cream smothered khunafa porridge thingy, cream filled puffs, and puddings in chocolate, custard or fruity flavours. The piece de resistance were 2 fondue fountains, one with white and the other with dark, chocolate. I had skewers of peaches and strawberries and marshmallows drenched in chocolate. The kids had a field day with the bask1n-robbins ice cream.

Towards the end of the iftar, they had a lucky draw with gifts sponsored by businesses around kh0bar. That is quite different from what we usually have in M@laysia, and it was kinda fun. The kids were dissapointed that we didnt win anything though :)

All in all, I thought the buffet was okay. Nothing much compared to those offered in Malaysia though ... tee hee


Sakit hati tengok:

1. Satu family bukan agama kita ni, datang iftar buffet, tapi belum waktu berbuka lagi, diorang dah ambik makanan dan makan! Bukan nya kita terliur pun, tapi sungguh tak menghormati tetamu lain. At least tunggu lah azan sekejap sebelum makan. Even my kids yang tak puasa pun tunggu sampai bunyi azan sebelum diorang jamah makanan diorang depan tetamu lain yang berpuasa. Taufik cakap "Patutlah orang marah sangat sampai nak tembak..."

2. Orang yang ambik makanan bertimbun-timbun dalam pinggan macam tak makan sebulan, lepas tu tak habiskan, pastu pegi ambik makanan lain pulak! Pastu waiters pun kenalah ambik pinggan diorang and makanan tu, terbuang ajelah nampaknya... Sungguh membazir! (Tapi my kids pun gitu sebenarnya, and guess who yang selalu end up habiskan makanan diorang?? Mak jugerrrkkkkkk.... how to kurus liddat?)

3. Budak-budak yang ambik cawan and tadah chocolate at the fondue fountain. I jealous sebenarnya.. nak buat jugak, tapi malu.. heh heh.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ihsan and Taufik

I wanted to post this earlier, but Ihsan wanted Nasi Lemak for his birthday dinner, so I spent most of the morning splitting ikan bilis (please remind me to buy ready-split ikan bilis next time), which took longer than usual because I had to entertain Izani in-between. In the afternoon I had to make Panna Cotta (again) and then prepare for iftar.


If there's one thing these two men in my life have, it's their common passion for gardening/farming. When we were at our orchard in Alor Setar, Kedah the last time we went back to Malaysia, Taufik didnt run out of things to do for even a minute. Ihsan would follow close behind him to ask "What can I do?", and Taufik would oblige him.

Below is a picture of them cutting down old banana trees and trimming the leaves off the ones that still have not bear fruit. I was shocked at first, that Taufik would let Ihsan handle a handsaw, but I watched Ihsan use it and was assured of his ability to handle one with strength and safety. He even had that little cowboy hat to protect his head from the sun! :) He is truly growing up so fast.

hard at work, but enjoying themselves

Taufik .. *sigh*, what else can I gush about him? He's filling out a bit (maybe due to my constant cooking? ;) ) but I still think he looks hot. I think he has reached most of the goals he had set for himself when he was younger. I am really proud of him, and he may have a few chinks here and there, but I think I've known and loved him long enough to see them as charming rather than annoying.


Happy 36th Birthday, Taufik, and Happy 8th Birthday, Ihsan!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"My Family" by Ihsan

click picture to enlarge

Ihsan saw me tinkling around with photoshop the other day and he wanted to have a go at it. So I let him play around with it, cautioning him though, that it might me a little difficult since the application is more advanced than the average MSPaint that he is so used to using.

Last night he excitingly showed me this drawing he made all on his own. I was quite impressed! Even I didnt know that there were these brushes available. tee hee.

Maybe I should have him design my logo, eh?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta was described as 'cooked cream served with berry sauce' in the menu of the italian restaurant we were having lunch at last July. Attracted by the word 'cream' (arent I always?), I decided to give it a try. My order came with fresh raspberries in sauce. It was yummeh!

When I came home, I googled for the recipe , only to discover that it is actually made using gelatine. erks.... ooops! :p

The recipe looks pretty easy, so I decided to give it a try, but to substitute the gelatine with agar-agar instead.

I had never cooked with agar-agar before in my life, and I heard that it's quite complicated to get right. I was given a few packs of agar-agar by Farah when she was packing to move back to Malaysia in June, so I had plenty to play around with. The instructions on the packet said dissolve 25grams agar-agar in 2.5 litres of water, but I don't have a weighing machine to weigh out 25grams, so I decided to do it by volume instead. I just had to figure out how to measure the right amount of agar-agar and liquid proportions to get the right texture and firmness. Panna cotta has to be smooth, just firm enough to stand, but not so firm to have a bite to it.

My first try resulted in more like milk agar-agar, very hard and not smooth at all, plus I had these stringy bits at the bottom of the mold. I couldn't figure out why. I made raspberry sauce using leftover frozen raspberries, so it was yummeh albeit a little chewy.

My second try was for the Merdeka Makan2. It turned out slightly softer and smoother, but it still had these stringy bits, which I had to strain out before putting the liquid into the serving dish to cool and set. My mom who was around to help, pointed out that I had not cooked the agar-agar thoroughly enough and I added the sugar too soon. Apparently, sugar stops the agar-agar from dissolving properly. Ah... I learn something new everyday! Nevertheless, the panna cotta was a hit, (I think, since a few people asked for some to be packed home), especially since I served it with fresh strawberries cut up and mixed with sugar.

My third try was too soft, when I turned it out of the mold, it was just too mushy. But it was still yummeh, and my kids just ate the dessert out of the individual cups, like dadih (yogurt).

I finally got it right at the fourth try, and I am happy to share the recipe with you:

Easy Peasy Panna Cotta


  • As much agar-agar you can soak in 1/2 cup of water**

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 litre (roughly 4 cups) of whipping cream @room temperature

  • 8-10 tablespoons of sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)


  • Boil agar-agar in water, stirring often, till liquid is clear and no longer cloudy. (If you're not sure, leave it to boil for another 5 minutes)

  • Lower the heat and add in half of the cream, stir till well mixed.

  • Add sugar and stir till well mixed.

  • Add the rest of the cream and vanilla essence.

  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest (if using)

  • Ladle into molds or serving dish (strain if necessary, and especially if using lemon zest)

  • Let cool then chill in the fridge to set.

Easy peasy Lemon Squeazy, no?

** So far I discovered that the best method of measuring the agar-agar is to measure water (1/2 cup) in the measuring cup, then to cut up as much agar-agar into small pieces into the water until I could not keep any more agar-agar submerged. This method works almost every time.

Panna cotta with strawberry sauce

The resulting panna cotta was smooth and still a bit wobbly, but had enough firmness to hold its shape when taken out of the mold. I used my silicone muffin pan as a mold, and also served a few of them in coffee cups. I guess you could also use ramekins if you own them. Alternatively, you could also just pour everything into a serving dish and cut/scoop it out to serve.

It can be served with sweetened fresh fruits (cut up strawberries or whole smalll berries mixed with sugar) or fruit/berry sauce (cook berries in equal amount of water and as much sugar as you want, bring to a boil till it is reduced to almost half and thickened). I served my last attempt with strawberry sauce in a squeeze bottle - the kind you pour on ice cream.

The kids, especially Ihsan, really love panna cotta. I brought a huge dish of it to the melayu iftar gathering 2 weeks ago and the kids had eaten it all up by the time the adults were ready for dessert! It is also a good way to sneak milk/calcium into their diet.

I'm already imagining variations to this recipe -

As I mentioned above, reducing the amount of agar-agar would create a dadih-like texture. I am already imagining them in chocolate, or corn flavour.. yum yum.

To get a less 'creamy' texture (read: less fat, whipping cream has 35% fat), you can use plain full cream milk, or low-fat milk if you'd prefer.

I also wonder if I would get tau-fu-fah if I used soy milk instead of whipping cream. :) (and serve with maple syrup or brown sugar dissolved in some water! oooh yummeh!)

Happy trying!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Five Fluff

I was tagged by Elin the cake-meister.

5 things in my bag (sometimes I carry a handbag, but most often I dont, so I will describe the bag I carry around to gatherings, okay?)

  • 2 diapers (izani punya)

  • wet wipes

  • moisturizer

  • telekung (or sometimes just a pair of the sleeve thingy and a pair of socks)

  • spare clothes for izani

5 things in my wallet (I dont have a wallet, I have this small sling bag, I'll describe what's in the side pocket)

  • CTbank credit card

  • a copy of taufik's iqama

  • my myKad

  • some cash

  • grocery list

5 favorite things in my bedroom (my bedroom in KSA)

  • the only working bedside lamp in the house 

  • whatever book I'm currently reading in bed

  • my soft duvet

  • Izani

  • Taufik

5 things I would like to do

  • Go on a road trip to Qatar, UAE and Oman

  • Go on a trip to Lebanon

  • Go on a trip to Jordan

  • Go on a road trip around europe

  • Go on a road trip road trip road trip.

5 things I am doing now

  • doing this tag

  • reading a forwarded email titled "Takziah, Syafaat Anak & Doa Pelindung" by Zaharuddin Abd Rahman

  • Thinking about what to cook for iftar gathering

  • Searching for recipes

  • Listening to the kids watching Big Cook, Little Cook on CBBC.

5 people i want to tag:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Easy Peasy Kuih Cara

'Kuih' (Coo-ayh) is any small bite sized dish normally eaten as a snack. It can be savoury or sweet.

'Cara' (Cha-rah) literally means 'way', but actually I don't know why this particular dish is called such. Perhaps it's actually short for 'Acara', which means 'event' and this dish was originally created for a special event? *shrug*

This is a particularly easy dish to make, if you have the right tools. The only tedious bit is pouring the batter into the mold and waiting for it to cook and then taking the individual pieces out. The mold is often made of copper or steel for even heat transfer (it has to be set on your stove top), and consist of oval indentations where you'd have to pour the batter in to cook it. What comes out would be oval shaped individual kuihs (cakes). The easiest I could describe it is like a small, fat, oval pancake with filling, either sugar or savoury minced meat.

I was inspired to make this dish when I had a chat with Jeni and Nurique the other day. Jeni, the culinary goddess that she is, mentioned that she was going to make this dish using her muffin pans. She shared with us the recipe, and instructed that to make it in a muffin pan, we'd have to pour the batter, then cover with tin-foil, then bake in a 185°C oven for 30 minutes.

I was thinking, 30minutes?? That's quite a long cycle. So the next time I was at an Indian grocery store, I looked out for a proper steel pan that I could use, and I found one for SR16! yay! I just set the pan on my electric stove top and used one of my existing pot lid to cover it. It has round molds instead of oval, but the result is similar to the kuih cara my mom makes ;)

The Kuih Cara Pan

Well, on to the recipe:

Easy Peasy Kuih Cara


  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 egg

  • salt and sugar to taste (I used 1/4tsp and 1tbsp respectively)

  • yellow/green food coloring


  • In your blender, mix all wet ingredients and then mix in the flour bit by bit to prevent clumping. Make sure batter is smooth. If your blender has some kind of spout, you can use your blender container to pour the batter into the molds. Else, you can pour into a jug with a spout.

  • To cook the cakes, heat up the pan under medium heat. Brush the molds with some cooking oil (traditionally, the brush is made using screwpine (pandan) leaves, but I just used a clean paper towel).

  • Pour the batter into the molds halfway, spoon in the filling (sugar or spicy minced meat), then cover with more batter. Cover with a pot lid to let cook. 

  • You can press the tops of the cakes with the flat side of a fork to test whether it's done (cake tops should be even colored and firm to the touch). It should come out of the mold easily with just a push of the fork at the edges when it's done.

  • Makes roughly 3 dozen. 

Easy Peasy Minced Meat Filling


  • 500grams minced meat

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce

  • 1 large onion chopped finely

  • 1 pip garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp curry/korma spice powder

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

  • salt&pepper to taste


  • Marinate mince meat with oyster sauce

  • Saute onions and garlic in oil till fragrant

  • Add spice powder with a little bit of water and let it simmer till pecah minyak (a thin film of oil surfaces)

  • Add in the mince meat, breaking it up as you cook. Season to taste.

You can also decorate the savoury cakes with slices of fresh chillies and scallions, adding them in together with the filling. The filling can also be used in samosas or egg rolls.

Easy Peasy Kuih Cara


Happy trying, and remember - If I can do it, You can do it, too!

(or as they say in Ratatouille, "Anyone can cook!")



just when I was in the mood to blog, my ISP's proxy server was down for two days!

watch out. Lots of Culinary Jams coming up!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fears and wishes of a mother

I can't even begin to tell you how news like this affect my feelings as a mother.

I have learnt from a very young age that there are very bad people out there. People who would think nothing of hurting an innocent little child in un-imaginable ways.
But still, you hope (or maybe you put yourself in denial) that it will not happen to your child. Perhaps that's the way mothers survive. If we give in to the fear, then we would not give birth. Or we wouldnt let our kids out of the house. We'd be sitting outside their classrooms, follow them wherever they go. In short, we'd prolly give them lives, but not give them a life.

So what can we do to protect our kids, aside from putting a leash on them until they're so old, they're not considered as easy prey anymore?
I teach my kids to never trust a stranger, irregardless of what the stranger say. Not even a stranger in uniform. Not even the security guards. (remember what happened to that little girl?). Trust only your parents. Trust that if you are lost, you can stay put or go to the last place we went and we will come look for you.
I teach my kids to stick together. You are not totally lost if you are not alone.
I teach my kids to put up a fight if somebody bad grabs hold of them. Scream, shout, kick, bite, roll or jump around, call for help in all the languages you know. Say "This is not my parent!" loudly and clearly. Never ever let them bring you to a second site.

Still, I am often afraid.
I mean, they are kids. They don't remember instructions. They get distracted. They want to play. And they are oh so so small and so so easy to be picked up and shut up and bundled away.
Trips out to the mall or places where there are a lot of people become a stressful situation for me. Instead of enjoying their company, I worry and fret. If you see a mom with 4 kids who keeps shouting "stick together!" at their kids, that's me.
When the boys go to the public toilets on their own, my stomach stays in knots until I see them return safely to me. Once I even contemplated going into the men's toilet coz Ilham took so long to do his business.
If one of my kids were to be out of my sight for more than five minutes and I don't know exactly where they are, I'd go frantic. The phrase "I thought he was with you" makes me go ballistic. My sister-who-doesnt-blog was once a witness to my handling of Ilham who went missing on his own for 15 minutes. She said the way I jumped on Ilham when he finally appeared was like a rottweiler going for the jugular.
Well, I'd rather be a rottweiler than a mom lamenting the loss of a child. Or worse, a mother who discovers that your child had been tortured and molested, to death.

I wish that we could change the way we function in our environment. I wish that we are less self absorbed and more aware of the things around us. As a mother of 4 kids, I know how difficult it is to keep an eye on even 2 kids, let alone 4. There are many times when I wished that strangers don't just look on and help keep an eye out for them as well, instead of just tut-tut-ing me when something bad happens.
I wish that when people see a lost child, they will stay with the child till the parent return. I wish that when people see a child being grabbed into a van, they will intervene. Ask what is going on, or take down the registration, at least.
I wish.
I wish to feel safer in an increasingly dangerous world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Easy Peasy Apam Balik

(Sorry, I can't help but post this!)

Sweet apam balik

Apam Balik (arr-pump bar-lake) is like a folded pancake with a filling.
In Malaysia, the usual filling is sugar, ground peanuts, cream style sweet corn and a tiny dollop of butter/margarine. Yummeh-ness! If you are ever in a night market in Malaysia, this is one of the few things that you should try.
Reading about other people going to Pasar Ramadhan (special food market set-up only during Ramadhan) drove me to make this myself. I got the recipe from Jeni, and believe you me it is Easy Peasy!
It is so easy, that the other day I made it with the normal malaysian filling, and today I made them with 2 types of filling - sweet, with nuts and chocolate (reminiscent of the ones I had in Jakarta) and savoury, with sambal daging (spicy beef floss).

Here's the recipe for the batter:

Easy Peasy Apam Balik

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups fresh milk
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a few drops yellow food coloring (optional)
2 cups self-raising flour

Whip eggs and sugar till soft peaks form.
Add milk, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and yellow coloring, and mix well.
Add flour bit by bit and mix well till very very smooth.

To cook, heat up a non-stick pan using medium heat.
Ladle a portion of the batter and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan, as thin or as thick as you like.
Sprinkle filling over half cooked batter.
Cover for a while to let batter cook.
Once edges of the batter is brown and crispy, use a spatula to peel the 'pancake' off, folding it in half before lifting out of the pan to cool.
Best served warm, but not bad even if it's cooled down

Whipping up the eggs and sugar takes a bit of work because you have to really whip them up till its really pale yellow and form droopy peaks when you lift the beaters up, else your pancakes wont be that fluffy. Having a mixer (hand or standing) would really help a lot. (I just dumped sugar and eggs into my sexy red thing and let it whirl on while I go do other stuff). Other than that, everything else is really straight forward.
The batter is similar to that of a belgian waffle, so you will get a crispy edge to it. I like my apam balik to be thin and crispy. I discovered that to achieve this, I have to use low-medium heat, spread the batter as thin as I can and not cover the pan at all while cooking.
I had used a 6-inch pan, so my apams were small and cut in half to serve. If you use a bigger pan, you might want to cut yours into 4.
If you're making the normal apam balik, sprinkle sugar, then grounded peanuts, then spoon a dollop of cream-style sweet corn and a tiny pinch of butter, in that order. For my nut+chocolate apam balik, I had used sugar, ground almonds and spooned a dollop of nutella (chocolate spread). For the sambal daging ones, I just sprinkled ready-made sambal daging :)(Now I'm wondering if it'd work with spiced mince meat, just like in kuih cara berlauk?).
In Jakarta, they even have apam balik with cream cheese! So Yummeh!

savoury apam balik

Give it a try! If I can do it, I'm sure you could too!

Love in the Time of Fever

I do not know what's wrong with my kids.
Last week Ihsan caught some kinda bug that made him feverish.
Over the weekend he got better, and he went to school on saturday albeit witha bit of a cough, but then Anis didnt coz then she was feverish. On Sunday, Ihsan's cough got worse, so he was kept from school, and I had him and Anis at home. Yesterday only Ihsan was at home nursing a cough, Anis and Ilham went to school.
Today everyone went to school, and I thought, *phew*, at last! I did not have to cook lunch for anyone! But at 10am Taufik had to go pick Ilham up from school and bring him home, coz he was sick.

So for the past four days, I have had at least one child home with me (on top of Izani).
I thought Ramadhan would give me a respite from having to think about what to cook for lunch, but I guessed wrong.

I have been cooking all sorts of porridge for the past few days. Chicken rice porridge, Plain porridge sprinkled with ikan bilis (fired and then ground), Chicken soup with rice, Chicken soup with oats...
I told Ilham we have some leftover white rice with beef curry so that's what he's going to have for lunch, coz I'm done making porridge. I had had a craving for bubur lambuk (creamy savoury rice porridge with lotsa stuff thrown in) earlier in the week, but now I'm just sick of gooey rice.
(by the way, kak teh's recipe for bubur lambuk looks so yummeh!)

On top of cooking lunch, I also have to keep track of who's taking what medicine and when. That's a blessing though, coz looking at all those bitter smelling medicines makes me lose my appetite, an advantage when you're fasting and have been looking at pictures of lemon zested drinks, assortments of delectable looking cakes and a myriad of lauks.
tee hee.

I'm sorry if I sound like I'm complaining. I'm actually not.
I love that I have company.
At least someone can play with Izani while I blog do housework.
tee hee.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera

As with other works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I found the book hard to read at first. It took me 3 tries over a period of a few months to read, re-read and finish just the first 10 pages. But after that, the book was a joy to read.
Marquez has this way of weaving his stories in such a way that it seems seamless, and that makes it really difficult to put down (coz I wouldnt know where to put my bookmark). Once I got past the first 10 pages though, I finished the book within 5 days, reading it before bedtime and in between housework.
I found this 'love story' to be romantic yet vulgar, corny yet real, funny yet sad, outrageous yet down to earth , extremely entertaining and slightly confusing.
There were times when I wanted to strangle the protagonist (Florentina) for his idiotic persistence in pursuing his love, but there are times when I understood his obsession. The love shared between married couples potrayed in the story really touched my heart, especially the emotions felt when you lose a loved one.
I was a little put off by an obvious pa3dophiliac incident towards the end of the book and I am thankful that Marquez did not linger longer on that subject.
In between depressing lamentations of pining for love, there were very comedic bits that got me guffawing out loud. Like, what's with the pacifier?
I didn't really fancy the ending though. Too .. fairytale like.
I could definitely see this book being made into a movie. I'm sure Hollywood would revell in showing off the nude scenes.

*goes off to search imdb*

oh, guess what?
The movie is actually in production!!
Javier Bardem is playing Florentino and Benjamin Bratt is playing Dr. Juvenal Urbino and John Leguizamo is Lorenzo Daza.
ooooh yumminess!
Though I would've imagined it the other way round since Benjamin Bratt is sorta thin, and wasnt Dr. Juvenal kinda stout?
aaanyways. This would be interesting indeed...