Thursday, May 28, 2009

A sweet experience....

.....unlike yesterday, today's event is totally the opposite of what had happened to me the day before. Maybe to some people what happened to me today is nothing extraordinary but I just feel that today is so sweet, the reason being, it is the first time I did what I did this morning.

what's on your mind? What do you think I did?

As I continue writing this, "today" has become the day before yesterday cos I was unable to complete the entry due to the orders for wedding cakes and cupcakes and brownies and BEN 10 birthday cake

So back to that story, well, it was nothing much really. I just went to the market....okay, picture this, the day was , Wednesday, the time was almost 8 am, the place was, the morning wet market. So? what's so sweet and special about the day, the time and the place?

Firstly, it's working day, and it's rush hour and it's not an office! Yup. I got to get used to this new experience. For the past countless number of years, the only day that I could do this is over the weekend, either Friday or Saturday or on my annual leave day, but not anymore, I can go there or anywhere anytime I want.To make the experience sweeter, I bumped into a friend who also did her morning shopping there and she asked me to join her for breakfast at one of the gerai at the market. Me...sitting and having my nasi lemak bungkus with milo tarik there... with a very good friend, .never before, so I just sat back and enjoy the moment. Furthermore it's not everyday that you go to the market and bumped into your good friend for a good breakfast and catching up on things.....even so, I couldn't stay too long, chores waiting at home, cakes to be baked and decorated, anyway I just enjoyed it while it last....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A frightening experience.......

....... not frightening or scary as in watching horror movie , Friday the 13th or Jaws but another kind of frightening.

It was 7.06 am. I was doing my daily chores of sending my daughters to school every morning and this morning was no exception. First destination was my eldest daughter. DONE. The next one was to send my youngest daughter ( my second child cycles to school everyday) to her kindergarten very near our place so I was about to drop her off on the way back.It was 7.30 am.

Out of the blue, the signal " battery" came on the warning panel. I was a bit stunned. Err...what does it mean? Does it mean, the car battery is weak? or what? Frankly, I don't know anything about cars except to drive it. I don't know if anyone out there is like me, but that's just ignorant about cars. I always leave all these things about cars to my other half.

To make matters worst , the steering wheel suddenly felt heavy. I couln' t move it either to the right or to the left. it could just go straight! I was panicky! OMG! What was I supposed to do? Do I stop at the road side and do what? I couldn't call my other half because he is outstation and I wouldn't want to disturb him at least not before 12.30 noon.

I kept on driving and "bersalawat" and didn't stop "berdoa" so that the car wouldn't give up on me right in the middle of the busy road. I was only less than a kilometre away from my house and from my daughter's tadika.

There's a round about ahead and my heartbeat pounded faster and faster. I was at Jalan Teluk Wanjah. What if I can't steer the car to the right, into Jalan Stadium? I tried ( nak pulas kuat2 takut patah pulak tengkuk steering tu ) and I did manage to go into Jalan Stadium and I kept on driving and drove past my daughter's tadika ( I had to turn left if I were to send her and I didn't want to take the risk of the car refusing to turn left ).

Oh no! Another turn and this time I had to make a U turn at the traffic light and again, I made a decision to de-tour by going slightly to the right about 45 degree angle and not U turn and drove into the road going to Komplek Pendidikan but I still had to make a right turn at the junction. A car stopped to give way for me ( bless this good soul ) and I nearly drove into his car because my car refused to make that turn, with great difficulty I managed to get into that smaller road leading to my house. Two more corners to make and I finally saw the yellow bambo tree in front of my house and never before have I felt so relieved and glad to see the sight of my house. I decided not to park the car inside because then I would have to make that ninety degree left turn which is a bit difficult with that subborn steering wheel so I just parked it outside under the yellow bamboo tree.

Phew! I managed to drive us both safely home and I still didn't know what was wrong with this car.Ya Allah ya tuhanku , thank you so much for answering my prayer. I'll call my other half later. In the mean time, I still have to send my daughter to her tadika , if not for her "exam" ( lima tahun pun ada exam now ni ). I would just let her stay with me at home , and fortunately we have this other car, this old VW model (seventies I think) .

it's ironic actually, only this morning when I was about to start my car ( the black one , the one with the stubborn steering wheel ) I said to myself, I'd drive the VW later because I haven't driven it for a number of days ( takut tak hidup pulak sebab lama tak start engine ).

I turned the ignition and it gave a coughing sound. Oh nO! Not you too!Tried several times but still it refused to start. Turned the air-cond knob to "off" position and thankfully the VW came to life. Alhamdulillah. So off I went to send my daughter in this VW, she was still unaware of the drama that her mama went through earlier for she was fast asleep at the back seat.

Slowly I drove this good old VW Beetle back home and please please please , I hope that she will be good to me this coming days because it won't be a few more days before my other half comes back.( wish you all the best dear , i know that there are soo many butterflies in your stomach as I am writing this but InsyaAllah, God willing, our prayers will be answered, ditto )

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ayam Masak Minangkabau

Ayam Masak Minangkabau, ready , to be served hot with hot white rice..

The name , masak minangkabau sounded so grand to a mere mortal who didn't know how to cook, like me, with all the cumin, fennel seeds, coriander, galangal, turmeric. Noticed the past tenses used in this sentence because it is to describe a thing of the past. However, it doesn't sound grand or alien to me anymore cos I think I have mastered the making of this wonderfully spicy cuminy coriandery ( are there such word?....whatever....)dishy..

this is the part when you put in the chicken after all the ingredients are all cooked and smell so fragrantly with the combination of the following:

shallot and garlic
lengkuas and kunyit
jintan manis, jintan putih, ketumbar
cili kering, belacan.
blend everything and tumis with cooking oil until fragrant.

People say or rather I said because that was what I thought at that time( back in the student days), that making chicken curry was the easiest of all the dishes for curry, but not to moi. I could make dishes much more complicated than chicken curry, like this ayam masak minangkabau, masak lemak cili api, ayam masak portugis but I didn't know how to make that simple curry! ( with its readymade curry powder, Ad*b*, b*b*s,Al*g*p*a, etc, etc, )

After the chicken is almost cooked, add some water, just about covering the chicken, cover the pot, simmer it and leave it to become tender.

After a while, add a few blobs of tomato sauce and a couple of tablespoons of fresh milk, salt and sugar to taste.

When it boils, add some coconut milk and stir occasionally , cook on slow fire until the gravy becomes thick.


" zue guna rempah apa ni? , abah asked me in our house in Kedai Batu 8 ( meaning which brand did I use to make this dish?

"Zue tumbuk sendiri", I answered proudly, though wasn't so sure what the comment was gonna be.
"Sedap...macam yang dijual di kedai2".

That was one of the proudest moments in my life.( for someone who didn't really know how to cook, that was quite an achievement! )

I was on holiday during the Summer break and decided to cook for my family, which was a rare moment because normally My Umi or my sister would do all the cooking because this girl ( girl lagi ke, dah mak budak...masa tu girl lah....)wasn't much of a cook. I was away from home most of the time, if at the boarding school, food was served on the table, nasi kawah and the lauk2 all done and prepared by the Makcik2 ( Bless all of them for preparing such wonderful lauk2, though ada jugak masa2 yang I don't like, me being a picky eater, but most of the time, simply delicious ), and thereafter, nasi bungkus or nasi mangkuk tingkat or nasi polysterine ( this was when I was doing my A Level in Kelana Jaya in the 80s )

The highlight of the cooking era was during my student days where I was staying thousands of miles away from my home-cooked meal by my Umi and stayed in a 3 bedroom rented house somewhere in Ilford with three other Malaysian ladies. We have to eat and so we have to cook ourselves because mummy is not here to cook for us, eating out is a bit expensive for students like us and we are also not 100% sure of the halal status, furthermore, it's not easy to get Malaysian dish from where we are staying, halal chicken is readily available but the dish itself, we have to cook them ourselves. Thankfully, we have a few good cooks in the house and it is from them and also from the recipe books that I learn how to cook some of the dishes.

But this particular ayam masak minangkabau, I learned when I was in my secondary school. Let's not dwell into that era, it will require more space in this entry if I were to talk about my school days. maybe, in the next entries

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fancy some scones, anyone..

just take a look at that...freshly baked scones, straight from my oven, for breakfast this morning, spread with some strawberry jam and I was transported back to the year 1990, somewhere in a B&B in a small village in Glasgow, or was it Edinburgh or was it Inverness? I am reminiscing, going back down the memory lane for those were the days when you have not so much worries as you do now. the only thing that you need to worry is to pass your exam, to make sure that you come back with a scroll in your hand.

That B&B place served the BEST scones I have ever tasted. If given a chance I would love to go back there and have that scone again, In the mean time I have to make do with my home bake scones which is no where near to that perfection but tasty and crumbly enough to be called a scone. For those who do not like their scone too sweet , then this one is definitely for you. even with generous portion of strawberry jam, it is still not sweet and since I have made it, I have to eat it but I do admit that I quite like it. quite big for a portion, I think more than 8cm in circumference and I had two this morning and had a glass of milk to complement it. Felt like having afternoon tea ( tho' I was having it for breakfast)in an english garden at somebody's backyard somewhere in the faraway land ....
I have been meaning to make scones forever...keep postponing it and finally I said to myself, I must do it,so i took out the recipe book " Exceptional Cakes" which my hubby bought for me and there it was:
I think, 450g of self-raising flour with two tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt , sift together, add 25g caster sugar. Rub in 85g unsalted butter , i think 85g( I'll check back the correct recipe later cost the book is downstairs and I'm in my room upstairs, ( checked, yup, it's 85g alright! )with the flour till you get he crumbly texture. Beat 2 eggs and 25gsugar .Add 200ml of cold milk and pour the mixture into the flour mixture. Make it into a dough, roll them and cut into about 16, I got more than 10 scones measuring about 8cm each.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175 C for about 20 minutes or until it is cooked. you know when it is done, the usual, brownish, skewer doesn't stick when you poke it into the scone. I almost forgot, glaze the scone with egg and milk mixture ( 1 tbsp of milk with 1 egg yolk) and sprinkle some caster sugar before you bake 'em.

There you go, all done and baked, ready to be enjoyed and savoured.
Note: the secret of a good moist, light scone is the correct proportion of raising agent to flour. Use too much leavening and your scone will stand tal, but taste horribly of baking powder. You also need to keep handling to a minimum, otherwise the gluten in the flour is overworked, making the dought elastic and the scone hard."( Exceptional Cakes book )

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

Haaa... what r u doing....Batrisyia....
"Batisya suka cokelet", was her reply

fom this oven out came the following:

Cheesy brownies for my daughter's Teachers DAy celebration today,

Bluebrry cheesecake for Batisyia's kindie

chocolate mud cupcakes for Batrisya's friends at the kindie.
when it came out fresh from the oven last night, I asked my son Ameer to try it and he kept coming back for more. He normally wouldn't like to eat my cakes, only selected few, very fussy and picky eater this one...hmmm I wonder where he got that worries about my daughter ,Tsara'...

colourful deco

Ready to be delivered and in fact, already delivered by the time I'm writing this down. ( more photos of these collections can be found at )
What's that sound? Birds chirping outside! Isn't that great! Now that I am at home I can hear all these wonderful nature's sound right at my door step so to speak. Apart from that, I am all alone, total silence at the house except for the sound of these keyboards clicking and the sound of the fan above my head,well, not exactly head.
I am in my bedroom, while downloading the photos I was multi-tasking, yes I was doing my ironing as well! Gotta prepare lunch afterwards, so in the mean time, decided to enjoy my sweet moments alone with my laptop, checking my emails, bloghop, letting my mind wander, creating sentences as I go along, going back down the memory lanes, while at the same time trying to get ideas for my next decoproject.
Today is the first day I have the whole house to myself after my newfound freedom which started on 1st May. So many things to do and yet I still find that there's only so little time left to do all the things that I wanted to do despite being 24/7 at home. It's a different kind of challenge, no doubt you are no longer dictated by the punch card or deadlines, but you must set your own dead line, the only difference is you can take your own sweet time to complete the task with no pressure from anybody else. You only have yourself to answer to., ain't that nice.....
Well..Cinderella has to stop dreaming for the clock is ticking and it's ticking very fast! The kitchen is calling, so is the laundry. What shall we have for lunch today? I have squid, prawns, some crabs, meat and chicken, not to mention fish, all kinds of fish, ikan merah, ikan bawal emas, ikat gutgut, ikan termenung, ikan siakap in my freezer. I have a few minutes to spare so perhaps, I'll go to my friends blogs or fotopages and see what's cooking there..

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I finally did it.....

This called for a celebration! What are we celebrating? Me , making my own laksa gravy...yippee....with a little help from a good friend.Hubby's favourite food, one of them is laksa but mummy dearest doesn't know how to make 'em. but she does know how to make cheesecake, cupcakes, brownies, chocolate mousse, cookies, kek gula hangus ( happens to be hubby's fav cake ), biskut batik, anything that you can find at Zue's Oven @ cekmekzue blogspot.

Now that mummy dearest has all the time in the world , ( she's entered into a new chapter in her life) ,she would try to cook or make all the dishes using all the recipes that she's been keeping all these years. Mummy dearest would cut any recipes ( be it from newspaper or magazines ) that she finds interesting, she would copy and paste the recipes from blogs , she would write down recipes on small pieces of paper, write down at the back of her diaries, texted them in her handphone and the list goes on. There was once, when she was on a plane and was reading the "GOING PLACES" magazine, she found an interesting sambal udang with cashewnut recipe, she copied it on a piece of paper. Till today, she never make that dish. She never finds the time to make 'em and the recipes remain where they are, on those pieces of papers in a folder, or in between the old recipe book, at the back of her diaries. Not anymore, she would dig out all those and would try them out one by one.

What's the story about this "kuah laksa"? They went to the morning market the other day to get their stock of "lauk-pauk", fish, prawns, squids, veggies, eggs, etc and they passed by this "ikan selayang". Hubby looked at it longingly but didn't say anything. Mummy dearest took the hint. Mummy dearest knew that hubby likes laksa but she had never made him that particular dish simply because she didn't know how!

So she said, "D, let's buy that fish"
'I 'd like to make laksa for you"
So they bought not one but two kilos of ikan selayang. Somebody is ambitious here! Actually she didn't know how much is needed , in fact she didn't know at all what she's going to do with the fish but she is determined. Determined to make that kuah laksa for her hubby, by hook or by crook.You know what they say, " a way to a man's heart is through his stomach" Is that true?

To cut the story short, Tuesday, she called up her good friend who is an expert in making this kuah laksa and seek her advise. She ended up not just getting an advise but this good friend came over and showed her step by step how to prepare it! That's what friends are for! To save the day!

Here's how it is done:
Firstly, you need to boil the fish with a few pieces of asam keping or asam gelugor. Leave it to cool, then you de-bone the fish. Blend them. You can use the excess water for later.

Dried chili- boil them and blend with shallots (lots of them), preferably big red onions , some prawn paste ( belacan).
Take note: no garlics are used in this recipe.
Heat a big pot, pour just tiny weeny blob of cooking oil, say about a tablespoon.
Pour the blended chili mixture, after say , fifteen minutes ( don't have to wait for it to "pecah minyak"), add the excess water, lots of it, let it boil, then add the following four main items:
1.serai- pound it
2.bunga kantan-
3.daun chenohom
4.asam keping

leave it to boil for another ten minutes, add, salt and sugar to taste. Voila!

to serve:
soak laksa ( laksa ronggeng, the small noodle type)for about twenty minutes.
Boil some water, when it boils, pour the laksa in, if it is soft , then it is ready, toss the water.

big red onion,cucumer, chli padi, limau nipis, daun ketereh, daun putat, daun ulam raja, etc, all sorts of daun and ulam that you fancy to go with your laksa.Some people like to eat their laksa with hard boiled eggs.

Bon appetit!

Hubby likes it but next time, mummy dearest must use the bigger version of laksa because hubby dearest doesn't like the small type.Mummy was so pleased with the result. Thank you Na for helping me out.You are a good friend indeed. True what they said , " A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Had "Moonstruck" for breakfast. My daughter Tsara' made this for me ( how sweet...) and I asked her to make for her Abah and brother too.



Burppp.....alhamdulillah, my moostruck and orange juice is in my tummy already.
How it got its name? From a movie of the same name, "Moonstruck" with Cher and Nicholas Cage as the heroin and hero in in that movie. We saw this movie way, way back during our student days in the 80s, during the Michael Jackson era, the Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, not Take That or New Kids on the Block days. Saw Cher making a hole in her bread and break the egg into it and so we did the same and named the bread and egg toast , moonstruck.
every once in a while we would buy the sandwich loaf ( the unsliced version ) and made this moonstruck. I like to eat mine with sugar whilst others prefer theirs with tomato or chilli sauce.
Bon appetit!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Music to my ear

"Mee goreng Mama buat lagi sedap dari kedai punya"

That statement sounds like music to my ear, uttered by my son sometime this morning when I was busy arranging white and fuschia roses on an engagement cuppies.What makes him say that? I don't know but for whatever reason, I don't care cos it made my day. It made a beautiful start to my new chapter, just like those white roses did.

The previous night too, my husband made a positive remark about my spaghetti sauce. That nite, last Wednesday, i was busy with my brownies marathon, baking brownies with walnut, marble cheese brownies and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and still managed to make us all spaghetti bolognese for dinner.

Simple dinner; boil the water, add spaghetti when it started boiling. After awhile, break a small piece, toss it against your kitchen wall, if it sticks, your spaghetti is done. That's how I tested to see if my spaghetti is cooked. Meanwhile, pour some olive oil in your pot, saute onion and garlic till fagrant, add minced meat.Add some black pepper and the spaghetti sauce ( short cut version ), oregano, parsley, bolognese spice, beef stock, salt and sugar. It didn't taste quite right, something was missing. I think it lacked something soury because I only used half of the sauce ( i had used the other half for the other night), so I opened up a can of peeled tomatoes and poured some into my spaghetti sauce. Voila, it got a compliment from my hubby. Served the spaghetti with the sauce plus boiled eggs. That was our dinner for that night while waiting for the brownies and the carrot cakes to cool off.