Sunday, September 28, 2008

Krispy Lessons

Lessons Learnt from yesterday's session of making rice krspy treats -

1. You cannot add chocolate chips to your rice krispy treats. The heat will just melt the chocolate and all you have is messy, ugly looking treats that tend to crumble coz the chocolate get in the way of the marshmallows. (But they still taste yummeh, so don't worry, your kids will eat them up in a jiffy)

2. If you want too add other ingredients to your treats, try nuts or raisins.

3. A pizza cutter (the wheel kind) is a good tool to use to cut up your treats into strips. Pull the cutter towards you instead of pushing it. It's easier to apply pressure on the blade that way.

4. A knife still works best for cutting your strips into squares. A flat blade, tapped hard on the treats works better than a serated blade, because the sawing motion might cause the treats to break up.

5. Using pink marshmallows with white rice krispies creates pretty girly treats.

6. The cheapest rice krispies you can find is at the indian grocery store, sold in plastic bags, not fancy boxes.

7. Always make your rice krispy treats at the last minute, because they dont last long. They can keep long in an airtight container, but some will magically dissapear before Eid day. You are forewarned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I want to ...

... be Yves Rossy when I grow up.

... get Anis's baju kurung over with coz I need to make cookies!! :(

... take a break sometimes, so some of you might be a target for my sudoku fix. My apologies!!

... reply to comments, but don't really have time at the mo. Will get to it soon, ya?

... blog about 'Syawal in Trengganu', but again, (read above).

... wish all my muslim friends and family -

Eid Mubarak ya habibi!

Maaf Zahir Batin sekiranya ada salah dan silap, sengaja atau tak, sedar atau tak, kecik atau besar.. rest assured that I would do the same to you :)

Drive Safe, Celebrate Well!
Think of me when you're eating all that yummeh malaysian dishes!

Trying to thread

I have never learnt how to sew. Whatever sewing skills I have, I had picked up from my mom, who taught Home Science and used to sew our Eid clothes. She showed me how to do that criss cross stitch that keeps that flap that form the kurung's collar in place. See, I don't even know the proper terms.

Being an engineer by training though, I love to build things, and I decided to apply that passion into sewing. I took one of Anis's old baju kurung pesak and did some reverse engineering. I drew a diagram to visualize what the seperate pieces of the dress would look like and how it would be constructed. I measured Anis, calculated and wrote down the figures on my diagram and figured out how much material I needed. I brought material, then re-drew the diagram to find out where I should cut the material to minimize wastage.
I put my education to good use after all. It may not be an aeroplane, but it's close enough for me.

So now I'm sewing. By hand.
There were moments while I'm sewing that I look at the clock and think gosh I haven't cooked yet or looked at the basket full of laundry to be washed/folded/ironed or looked at my ignored kids or thought of the cookies I haven't baked for eid or when I get poked for the umpteenth time by the needle, that I think I'm crazy to be doing this.
Sewing by hand!! Just go buy a sewing machine for gawds sakes! but I think about how I've got to get ready and go out and go look for a sewing machine and then read the manual to learn how to use it and how during all that time I could be doing actual sewing, I would tell myself, Fergeddit. I'll just keep on sewing by hand.
I am malas (lazy) but rajin (not lazy) that way.

Body and collar done, sleeves and kekek done. Now need to put them together, then on to constructing the skirt.

Wish me luck and somebody please tell taufik to buy me a sewing machine for my next birthday.
tee hee

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kid Friendly Asam Pedas

I love asam pedas, but because I am allergic to belacan (fermented shrimp paste), I am often wary to eat it at restaurants, coz most often than not, they would put belacan in it. But I luuuuuuurrrve asam pedas.
I had some fish the other day and was bored with the usual curry, so I decided to try making asam pedas. Furthermore, I just brought some bunga kantan and daun kesum from Malaysia, so what better way to use them other than for asam pedas?
I browsed for recipes and found one that doesn't use belacan, here.
I didn't have some of the ingredients and I had to make it kid-friendly, so here's my modified version:

Kid Friendly Asam Pedas

3 shallots, 2 pips garlic
3 pieces dried chillies (more if you like it spicier), cut up and soaked in hot water to soften
1/2 inch ginger
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp blackpepper corns

3 tbsp oil
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp mixed spices (fenugreek, poppyseeds, cumin)*
2 stalks curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
water (depends on how thick/thin you want the sauce to be)
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 medium sized fish (or 2 small fish), any kind you like
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 bunga kantan (?)
as much daun kesum as you like
salt and sugar to taste

In a saucepot, heat up oil and saute sliced onions, mixed spices and curry leaves till fragrant.
Add ground ingredients, turmeric powder and tomato paste, let fry till a little dry and oil rises to the top.
Add water, tamarind pulp and oyster sauce, bring to a boil.
Add in the rest of the ingredients (fish + leaves), let simmer till fish is cooked.
Add salt and sugar to taste.
Serve with steamed white rice.

Asam Pedas Ikan Kembung (yang tak berapa pedas)

* This mixed spices are the same ones I use to make fish head curry. You can find them sold in packets at Giant or any grocery store in Malaysia. Outside of malaysia, though, it can be quite difficult to find so you might have to mix your own based on the seeds/spices I mentioned above.
The list of ingredients is long, but when you look at the method, you'll see that it's pretty easy.
I added oyster sauce to substitute for the belacan flavour. It worked :)
Like all Asam Pedas, this tastes better after reheating the next day, because all of the ingredients would've simmered and melded together for a while.
I know a certain family in Qatar that eats their Asam Pedas with bread, pancakes or paratha. *wink*

Happy trying, and I hope I have inspired you :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ramadhan in Trengganu

I don't know how it is now, but spending Ramadhan in Trengganu was a lot of fun to me. Perhaps it was because I was a child and need not have to worry about what to cook for iftar. tee hee.

The beginning of ramadhan is marked by the sound of the cannon (from the top of Bukit Puteri?). The sound would usually be followed by someone or other saying "hoh! Esok Posa" (hoh, tomorrow we start fasting). I guess the end of the fasting month would be marked the same way, but I never know because we were always somewhere else, either in Merang, where my dad's side of the family lives or in Besut, where my mom's side of the family lives.

Iftar (the breaking of fast at sundown), during Ramadhan was almost always done with special fare, though not necessarily with Trengganu food. My mom's offering during ramadhan would include western dishes like Chili Con Carne, beef stew, these meatballs with peas eaten with bread, and spaghetti bolognaise, things she doesnt normally cook throughout the rest of the year. Once in a while we'd have malaysian food like rice and noodles, but it's those special dishes that we look forward to (and still crave for till now) every Ramadhan.
Hm.. was there any special food that Trengganu folks eat during Ramadhan? I'm not sure.. as far as I can remember, the food was great throughout the year, so I can't recall anything special for the month of ramadhan. Except maybe for Air Nira and Nekbat.
Air Nira is the nectar from palm flowers. Expert climbers would climb up a palm tree, cut a bit off the flower and hang a container of some sort to collect the dripping nectar. The collected nectar is sold by the roadsides at small wooden stalls, and my dad would not fail to stop if he sees one.
Nekbat are these tiny oval shaped cakes made of flour and eggs, I think, and it is usually served cold in clove spiked syrup sauce. They are cool, soft, creamy and sweet at the same time. Just the thought of them makes me drool. Unfortunately I couldnt find any the last time I went home.
The above 2 items are available throughout the year, but somehow we only have it during ramadhan, perhaps because they are considered to be quite indulgent food, and we could only have it as a reward for fasting.

I started learning to fast when I turned 7, I think.
Like all kids, I started fasting for half a day first, breaking my fast at noon instead of sundown. After awhile though, you get tired of the taunts "Posa yang yok, pagi pagi bukok puyok" (fasting you're not, early morning opening the pot) and you would try to fast for the whole day. Achieving this was okay when school is in session, but when the school holiday starts and we go back to my grandmother's place where all the other kids are also on holiday and they ask you to come out and play and you play all. day. long, it's quite a feat to keep yourself from breaking your fast. I must admit, there were a few times, after a session of rounders or deghghak (walking around) somewhere, I would come home and sneak a drink from the payyang koko (the brown earthen vessel) at the foot of the green steps of my grandmother's house (Sorry, Papa! *sheepish grin*). The cup may just be a chetong made out of rusty milk tin, and the water may just be un-cooked well water put there to be used to wash your feet before you come into the house, but at that moment, it tasted like the cool nectar from heavens.

I loved going back to my grandmother's house during Ramadhan. Aside from her ttuppat sutong (Stuffed squid) and the numerous friends I could play with, there was also Malam Tujuh Likur, probably the highlight of a child's life in the month of ramadhan. "Malam Tujuh Likur" is celebrated on the 27th night of Ramadhan. During this time, most of the houses would be busy preparing eid cookies and the night air would be filled with the sweet smell of baking. People would begin decorating their house for eid, by hanging lapu nynyeceh nynyembor (them twinkling lights), if you can afford it, or just the pelita, lanterns made out of milk tins filled with turpentine and a piece of rag or string as a wick. You'd get to try on your raya clothes for the first time. You'd get to walk around with your friends with lanterns, either the milk tin kind or the storebought paper ones with a birthday candle, to light your way while you deghghak meghata (walkaround everywhere).
Fireworks haven't been banned yet when I was growing up, so we would also light the skies up with them. There were the long thin ones that shoot multicolored balls of fire (together we would all count out loud how many there are), there were ones that would release a parachute at the end of the explosion, and then there were milder ones- like the hand held bunga-api (sparklers), or those shaped like a snake and would leave a crumbly ash in a coil when it goes out (macam ubat nyamuk). For those of us that can't afford fireworks, we would go around, lanterns in hand, and look for ppurong (Coconut shells). We'd stack them up on a pole (erected by an adult for that purpose), then when we've covered the whole pole, an adult would light them up in a tower of bonfire. Doesn't sound like much now, but at that time, it was like the best fire show ever. I guess there's a tiny closet arsonist in all of us.

I wish my kids could experience all this, but unfortunately the environment nowadays is different from what it used to be when I was growing up. I would never let them walk around in the dark on their own, unless it's in the compound.
ah.. the good old days. *sigh*

Friday, September 19, 2008

juvenile jiggy-ing

My kids dancing to the new radio:

I don't know what they ate to make them so hyper that night.
And Izani was just his normal cheeky self.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



pegilah tidor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Interesting Iftar

First, let me explain to you why I did not post the picture of my raspberry cheesecake:

1. There was no raspberry cheesecake. I thought I had bought raspberry topping, but it turned out to be strawberries in syrup (Note: Never shop while you're hungry, coz the lack of glucose affects your eyesight and brain capacity). There is nothing uglier than un-fresh stawrberries. It tasted okay though.
2. I had procrastinated so much (I played Sudoku!! *hangs head in shame* I think I have a problem. Dr. Phil help me), that I was late in baking the cheesecake. By the time the cake had cooled down sufficiently for me to slap on the whipped cream and arrange the strawberries on top, it was time to leave for my friend's house. I did not get a chance to take any pictures before it was all cut up and eaten.

So there you have it. No raspberry cheesecake pictures.

Yesterday we got an invitation for iftar with the folks at Sm1th at Le Meridian Hotel (again). Taufik had wanted to go to the Holiday Inn this year, and I was excited about it coz from the outside it looked like they erected traditional bedouin tents or something (or maybe it's just the entrance? *shrug*), but then Holiday Inn couldn't accommodate the whole office+families, so they bought tickets for Meridian instead.
Food was okay, same like last year. I ate lotsa salmon (so did Izani). I had these yummeh grilled eggplants, and a stuffed eggplant baked in tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella. I so want to eat that again, but i'm afraid if I make it myself, no one else would eat it, coz no one else in my house likes eggplants. Maybe I should try to make it at the next gathering, whenever that may be.

Just like last year, they had a lucky draw at the end of the evening. Last year we didn't win anything, so we weren't that hopeful this year. The prizes were mostly crap anyways (electrical items, lotions from a neighbouring spa), except for the final grand prize, which was one return ticket to Abu Dhabi. That never stopped the kids from being excited about the possibility of winning something though. Ihsan and Anis eagerly held on to their tickets and checked their numbers every time. Ihsan kept asking me, "if I win, I can go up there and take my present?" and I would exasperatingly answer "Yes....".

So we were listening to the guy announcing the winning numbers, and he said "Four, Wahid, Two, Sifar", but the mixture of english and arabic numbers confused us and I thought it was 4127. We waited for the announcement again but somehow the guy went on and on about the rules and regulations for entering the lucky draw for a car pulak dah. At taufik's table, one guy had 4119, the other had 4121 so taufik thought, "the winning ticket must be among us". I asked him what the winning ticket was and he said "4120".
I asked Ihsan what his ticket number was and he said "4120!".
"4120! You won, Ihsan!" I said excitedly.
"I won? So I can go?" , he was equally excited and unsure at the same time.
"You won! Go!" I urged him, coz they were about to pull another number.

You should've seen the way he skipped to the stage and take his prize. It was just a small portable cassette recorder FM/AM radio thingy, but he held it like it was gold. He brought it around everywhere he went. He only put it down when he went to get more dessert (He said my cheesecake was better than the hotel's cheesecake. *wink* such a charmer), and even then he asked me several times, to seriously, look after his radio.

We went home and tried it out. Ihsan was so happy as he danced to Sultans of Swing in the living room.
We pointed out to him that maybe this is Allah's way of rewarding him for fasting for 15 days straight.

"What's a 'cassette'?" he asked me. :D

*rolls eyes*
I feel old.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not a food post.

I thought it'd be good to take a break.
Plus I'm gonna make a raspberry cheesecake today, so I'll save that torture for tomorrow. *mwahahaha*

Let's talk about mundane things like politics and tv and such.

I didn't get to catch the democratic convention on TV, but I did get a glimpse of Rudy and Sarah talking at the Republican Convention.
It was chilling.
It was like watching a devil worshipping cult movie or something, especially when they were chanting "Drill baby Drill".
You citizens of america better make your choices carefully.

What in the world is going on with my country lah?
I dont understand why you keep voting for these ***holes when they are so obviously ***holes.
*geram nih*

I saw Spiderman 2 for the umpteenth time and only recently noticed something - that receptionist chewing gum and refusing to pay for her pizza order because it was late, she's Bones!

During Ramadhan, MBC4 shows Americas Funniest Videos instead of Oprah. My kids and I are hooked! We sit together and laugh our ***es off at the really funny videos. Izani loves anything with animals and babies so he enjoys it too.

I really should take a break from Sudoku and return to catching up with my tadarus.

My husband is on Facebook. *horror*
but he doesnt have time to maintain it, so I had to help. *leeerrrrr*

I'm gonna go mandi now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homemade Naan

It's Saturday and it's weekend for the rest of the world, so I guess it's safe for me to put up a food post, no?

I made my own naan yesterday!! I am so proud of myself!!
I got this recipe book, Malaysian Favourites: Best Recipes from Noted Malaysian Cooks
from Kinokuniya (RM45.90) the last time I went home and had been eyeing the naan recipe ever since. On Thursday I got some leftover thick beef curry from an iftar gathering with the folks from the Malaysian Embassy in Riyadh (where I also met Neeza from Jubayl *grin*), so I finally had an excuse to make some!
In the span of 3 weeks, I had slowly slowly bought the required ingredients - yeast (in small individually wrapped packets so that they don't go dead on me so quickly), ghee, flour (I bought 3 1kg packets in anticipation of having to make lots and lots of prawn fritters) and only yesterday did I ask Taufik to stop by the mini market after friday prayers and buy me a cup of yoghurt.
The recipe wasn't that complicated. I guess the only tough part would be the 15 minutes of kneading it required. With good yeast and good mixing or kneading, however, you will be rewarded with fluffy naan ;)
(Recipe modified a bit from original coz I dont have a kitchen scale).


2 teaspoons dry yeast
250ml lukewarm water (just a little bit more than 1 cup)
4 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons yoghurt
4 tablespoons melted ghee
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups all-purpose flour (I will explain)

In a big bowl, dissolve dry yeast in half of the water. Add sugar, mix well, and set aside for 10 minutes till mixture gets all bubbly and frothy.
Mix in yoghurt, melted ghee, salt and remaining water.
Add in flour into the mixture bit by bit, mixing and eventually kneading until dough forms a stiff ball and does not stick to the bowl or your hands (I used roughly about 3.5 cups at this point). Continue kneading* for 15 more minutes.
Preheat oven to 220 deg C or 440 deg F.
Cover bowl with a clean, dry cloth and let sit in a warm dry corner of your kitchen for about an hour, or till it has doubled in volume.
Divide dough into two, then 4. Divide each quarter into another 4 and form balls (So you eventually get 16 balls).
Flatten each ball with your hands or a rolling pin to form thick discs the size of dessert plates.
Place in the pre-heated oven for 7-10 minutes or till edges are golden brown.
Remove from oven and keep warm under a napkin.

I served my naans with yesterday's thick beef curry and a plain salad of chopped lettuce and chunks of carrots and cucumber. The naan was just slightly sweet, salty and creamy (from the yoghurt i guess) and goes well with the spicy curry.

I am not an expert in kneading, so what I do is fold the dough into itself and push with my knuckles as I go. Repeat until tired.

To simulate the conditions of a brick oven, I used a Pizza Stone (bought at Stokes, Mall of Dhahran for about SR60 or so) and baked my naan on it. Put the stone in a cold oven before pre-heating to avoid cracking. Flour your naan well before placing it on the hot stone (Do not add any oil). The result is a naan with a crunchy crusty bottom, and a soft fluffy top, just the way my children likes it.
The original recipe instructed me to brush the tops of the naans with ghee and sprinkle it with chopped garlic before baking it, but since I didn't want to get any oil on my pizza stone, I omitted that ingredient/step. You can try it if you want.

My only complain is that these naans are really only best eaten while warm. When it's cold it tends to get quite hard and chewy.. :P
Haven't tried reheating yet, coz I didn't have any leftovers. I had some leftover dough though, and have kept it in the freezer for later use. Will tell you how that turns out.

Now, if only I could figure out how to make Shrimp Sizzler, then we wouldn't need to go to Mughal Restaurant anymore...

Happy trying and tell me how yours turn out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Extremely Easy Peasy Cheese Samosa

It's so easy it's almost like cheating

Really. I mean, the ingredients can be bought ready-made at the stores. All you have to do is wrap them up, then deep fry.
But here's the recipe anyways. I'll add some tips/notes at the end of the recipe just to give this post some substance.

Easy Peasy Cheese Samosas

1 500gram packet of ready made samosa leaves
3 round boxes of cream cheese wedges
Some water for sealing

Cut cheese wedges into half lengthwise (so you get a thinner wedge).
Take a samosa leaf carefully so as not to rip it. Put a halved-wedge at one end at a 45degree angle, fold into a triangle. Keep on folding the triangle until you reach the end of the leaf. Seal the final end by rubbing some water onto the leaf.
Heat some oil for deep frying. Deep fry the samosas until golden, drain on a paper towel. Let cool slightly before serving to avoid burns from hot cheese.
Can be kept in a tupperware in the fridge/freezer for one week.
Makes 48 (4 dozen).

Samosa leaves -
Not all samosa leaves are created equal. Some tend to absorb more oil than others and some has a slightly bitter aftertaste. You've really got to try them out to find one brand that you like. I like 'BintiAlBalad' or something. I fry them in really hot oil. It usually results in ugly blistery samosas, but they're crispy and I'd rather have ugly samosas than soggy ones.

Creamcheese Wedges -
You know which ones I mean, right? They usually come in round boxes and contain 8 individually wrapped cream cheese in foil. Though some brands offer flavoured cream cheese, I found the plain ones work best. The picture above shows what the cheese looks like unwrapped.

Timing -
I make my samosas in advance (a lot of them) and keep them in the fridge till I'm ready to fry them. This keeps the cheese inside it cool and won't seep out when you fry them. (Incidently, also try to fold the triangles as tightly as you can so that you don't have holes).
Fry at least 45 minutes before serving so that the cheese inside has sufficient time to cool down. There is nothing worse than getting your tongue burned by hot cheese.

This is really my children's favourite tit bit for iftar (breaking fast), only second to cucur udang (Prawn fritters). I have to make sure they get at least 4 each. I end up frying 2 dozen per day, so 48 pieces doesn't stay very long in the fridge. :)

Happy trying :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Panic! not at the dancefloor

Today was my first day as the bus monitor ever since the school year started. It being Ramadhan and me having to wake up at 3am to prepare sahur for everyone and only go back to sleep at 4:15am after fajr prayers made me worry if I could wake up again at 6:15am. On other days, Taufik would be the one waking up the kids and I'd wake up at 6:45 to prepare Anis' lunch box and braid her hair. Today I have to get myself ready as well.
My anxiety had me dreaming that I woke up late, didn't shower or brush my teeth and dragging my kids in their jammies to the bus. So the moment some sunlight seeped through the curtains of my bedroom window, I shot up and checked the time on my handphone. I saw it was 6:45am. 6:45!!! Dayumm my alarm didnt go off!! Or it did and I didnt hear it!! Or maybe I heard it and I switched it off in my sleep!!!
ohmygod ohmy god ohmygod I ran to the kids' rooms and woke them up in a frenzy. "wake up wake up wake up we're late we're late you've gotta get ready for schoool! Anis you just brush your teeth and wash your face and get ready and go down and have breakfast Ilham and Ihsan you have time to shower (coz they are skipping breakfast)". I half-screamed instructions as I myself reached for my toothbrush.
Ilham woke up hair all disheveled looked at the clock with one eye and said "It's okay, we still have time"
"*You* still have time. I have to get ready and then make anis' lunch" I dismissed him , and added "Go go go!! GO brush your teeth!!".
While searching my wardrobe for a decent outfit, Taufik asked me from under his pillow "What are you late for?"
"I'm the bus monitor today, remember.. it's already 6:45!!" I answered.
"It's not. It's 5:45. Cuba tengok jam betul-betul", he said (asking me to look at my watch carefully).
No. Way.
I went to look at my watch and lo and behold.
It *was* 5:45. Not 6:45.
"You guyyyssss...." I grinned sheepishly at the boys who just came out from the shower, "I made a mistake. It's still early.. Sorry!".
God bless my kids, they didn't complain a bit.
They put on their uniforms. Ilham combed his hair then got back in bed. I heard Ihsan turn on the computer. I heard Anis get in the shower and taking her sweet time, then after awhile, I heard her switch on Cartoon Network.
Me, I went back to bed, of course.
Only to be woken up at 6:15 by my alarm.

Monday, September 08, 2008

"I'm Sorry"

When I visited my friend one day, she kept going on and on about her husband's recent overseas trip. He was presenting a paper in a city which she considered to be very romantic and his co-presenter, a lady, went together with him. She couldn't go because she was working. She said she wasn't worried about his fidelity because the lady is married, and my friend knows the lady quite well. She said she wasn't jealous of the lady spending time with her husband, but she kept saying that she imagined him taking pictures of her and her of him, at places where she wished she could visit herself. And she kept asking me "If you were in my shoes, how would you feel?"
Her husband, who is by nature a man of very little words, just kept a straight face throughout the conversation, only letting out a little smile once in a while when Taufik or I would jokingly tease my friend about her 'jealousy'.
She incessantly brought the subject up, as if unsatisfied and searching for something, a right response perhaps.
If her husband had asked me what a right response would have been, I would have told him to say "I'm Sorry".

I know many men would be shaking their heads right about now.
When I was invited to talk about John Grey's "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" on the now defunct morning show when the book celebrated its 10th anniversary, I had told the hosts (mokciknab, Che' Mi and Che' Kem), that the best thing that a man can say to his female partner to foster good relationship is "I'm Sorry". Che' Kem and Che' Mi almost jumped out of their seats and vehemently dissagreed. "But what if you didn't do anything wrong?" Che' Kem argued.

See. There in lies the difference between men and women.

Men sees "I'm Sorry" as apologizing and admitting fault.
Women, on the other hand, sees "I'm Sorry" as apologizing and assuring feelings.

It doesn't really matter who is at fault, when a woman feels hurt, they need someone to validate that feelings, so that they themselves feel validated. They want to hear "Yes, you have the right to feel that way, and I care for you enough to make you feel better". An "I'm Sorry" (especially if it's from the man that made her feel bad in the first place), does exactly that. (It's either that, or an "I know exactly how you feel!!" from another woman, but wouldn't it be better if it came from the man in question?)

Now, if you have a husband that has not read the book (or this post)(or is just plain blurr), how in the world do you get him to say "I'm Sorry"?
It took me quite a few years to learn to do this : Just ask for it.
Before I learned how to ask, all I did was seethe and pout and feel miserable. Then I picked up the courage to just say, "look, all I wanted to say is my feelings are hurt (or I dont feel loved) by (whatever), and what would make me feel loved now is an I'm Sorry from you".
You'd be suprised as to how quick you'd get that "I'm Sorry".

Try it, and tell me if your relationship doesn't get better :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I want to watch this

I want to watch this, but I'm not a resident of the U.S. or Canada.

How now brown cow?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Easy Peasy Nasi Tomato

We had bought a leg of lamb on Thursday and I had marinated it that very afternoon, not remembering that it was my birthday the next day. Ninuk reminded me by asking if it was for my birthday dinner, and I was wracking my brain for ideas of what to eat the lamb with, when Rozanne, in her birthday wish for me on TheBookOfFace, asked me for the recipe for Nasi Tomato. Lightbulbs went off, Nasi Tomato and Roast Lamb it is! I also decided to make some pajeri nenas to provide the obligatory kuah (gravy) for any rice dish we have in this family.

So this post is not only to show off tell you about what I had for my birthday iftar, but to also share with you (especially Rozanne) my recipe for an easy peasy nasi tomato (tomato rice).
My version of tomato rice does not use ghee or evaporated milk because I don't like it when my rice is too rich. Some recipes also use pandan (screwpine) leaves to add aroma, but since it's quite difficult to find that here, I also omitted that out. The result is a very light but tasty tomato rice, that went very well with lamb and pajeri nenas (a sweet, thick, pineapple curry).

Easy Peasy Nasi Tomato (Tomato Rice)

2 cups rice (washed and drained)
Enough water to cook rice*
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cube chicken stock OR salt to taste
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped fine
2 cloves garlic sliced very fine (mayang)
one 2inch cinnamon stick (kulit kayu manis)
one star annise (bunga lawang)
2 cardammom pods (buah pelaga)

In your rice pot, mix rice, water, tomato paste, sugar and stock/salt.
In a seperate frying pan, heat up oil and saute onions, garlic and spices till onions are slightly brown and spices are fragrant.
Transfer fried ingredients into the rice pot, stir to mix well and let rice cook as usual**
When rice is done, garnish with roasted almonds/cashews, crispy shallots and chopped coriander.
Can served with most curry dishes, chicken in red sauce, pajeri nenas, mixed salad or any type of acar (mixed vegetables in a simple vinegar+sugar dressing)
Serves 4 adults comfortably.

* I used the normal thai rice, but you may use basmathi rice if you prefer, so the amount of water required may vary. I am old fashioned and still use my finger to measure my water so cant really tell how much I actually used.
** I still cook my rice on the stove, so usually I let it boil on high uncovered until the water level recedes to the very surface of the rice, reduce the heat to low, give it a good stir, then cover the pot. I let it steam itself for about another 10 minutes then check if the rice is done by taking a few grains and pressing it in between my fingers. If it's thoroughly tender, then it's done, and you can take it off the heat. Electric rice cookers tend to undercook any type of rice dish that has tomatoes or milk in them, so if you're using one to prepare this dish, check often and keep switching on the cooker till your rice is done.

Links to related recipes:
Pajeri Nenas
Kid-Friendly Ayam Masak Merah (Not spicy Chicken in Red Sauce)

Happy trying, and don't forget to tell me how yours turn out!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wishing Space

Here's a space, just in case you want to wish me anything today ;)
I'm just humbled to still be alive and still be a practicing muslim.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Famous Ahy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eversince rotikacangmerah promoted her brother's cookies on her bloglast year, I had been drooling over these cookies. Reading her describe it, (and she does have a way with describing good food), you get the impression that it's the best chocolate chip cookie in the world.

So, when I was back home for the holiday,I decided to order some to bring back to Saudi. 'Some' is an understatement. Ahy said one 'batch' yield about 8 packs, with each pack containing 50 cookies. That's 400 cookies, ladies and gentlemen, and I ordered them ALLLLLLLL.

The very moment Ahy passed me the cookies in IK3A, we (Dory, to be exact) had opened one tupperware right there and then, next to the pine shelves. The aroma that wafted out once the lid was pried open (we were that gelojoh) was a telling preview of the chocolatey goodness we were about to taste.
The moment I bit into one, I had to agree with rotikacangmerah, it was one of the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.
The cookie had crunch, it had the slightly chewy oat bits, and it had the gooey chocolate chip bits. It wasn't too sweet, yet sweet enough, just the way I like it.
My only complain is that they were small, and it made it too easy to eat!!
Ahy had put the cookies in 2 huge tupperwares, and 2 days after I opened the one tupperware, that huge tub was empty!

That was why it took me awhile to put this post up. I had hesitated for a loooong time from breaking the seal of the last remaining tub of cookies. I knew, once I opened it, I (or the kids) would be tempted to eat it. I finally opened it coz it is impossible to tell you about how yummy they are without showing you how yummy they look.
Even Izani couldn't help drooling over the cookies while I was taking pictures. I was so scared that he would jump all over the cookies, but fortunately he did not. He did ask "I want, cooties, please?" over and over again, though.
For his patience, Izani was finally rewarded with some ;)

Ahy is accepting orders for Eid, so if you're interested to try some of these delicious cookies, do give him a call at 012 314 2353 , or email him at
If you cant reach him there, also try emailing

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

1st Ramadhan

Yesterday was the first day of Ramadhan.
Ilham and Ihsan woke up for sahur, and they were quite okay even though we kept having to prod them to eat and not sleep at the dinner table. After awhile they were awake enough to finish their food and have some tea. We went over the 'rules' for fasting, what they can and cannot do. I told them to try their very best at controlling their desire to eat/drink. This is after all, the ultimate test against yourself. I also reminded them that fasting is not an excuse not to participate in school activities. Just make sure you eat right during sahur and do not over-exert yourself during play time, and you'll be fine.
We prayed fajr together, and they went back to sleep.
I had to drag myself out of bed at 6:15am to wake Anis up first, coz she's the only who needs to have breakfast, and only woke the boys up 15 minutes later. They were so happy they got extra sleep time coz they don't need to have breakfast. Ilham yippeed that his schoolbag is lighter without his lunchbox. (And I yippeeed coz I only had to prepare one lunchbox!)

The kids came home in good spirits. Ilham and Ihsan were tired, but they were proud of themselves for surviving. Ihsan was happy he could hang out at the sand dome playing card games with the other fasting kids during lunch break. Ilham asked me if he batal puasa if he killed an ant. Ihsan said he almost drank some water but remembered that he was fasting.
Reminds me of how grown up they've become. I remember a time when Ilham would reply "Ilham tak kuasa" while sucking on his milk bottle when I ask him if he was fasting.

I had wanted to go grocery shopping with the bus, but I had a cold so I scrapped that plan. That decision left me in quite a dilemma : I had wanted to make prawn fritters but had no prawns. How now brown cow.
After procastinating by playing sudoku and watching Monsters Inc over and over again with Izani, I decided to take a walk to the mini market and get me some frozen prawns. It's not as good as the fresh ones (frozen prawns tend to shrink and become tough when cooked), but it'll do.
Ihsan helped me pound dried shrimp, Ilham helped me make air sirap, and Anis was the official taster. Ilham helped me decide on making chicken rice for iftar, coz my brain was dead.
So that's what we had for the first iftar of the year - sub-standard prawn fritters, and chicken rice.
I have NO idea what to cook today :P

On the taddarus front, due to my annoying cold, I only managed to muster 23 ayats of Al-Baqarah in between frying up fritters. Shameful. I hope I'll do better today.

How was your first day?