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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eye Yo, so Tall!


I always have this notion that I am 22 years old, able to walk for miles and miles, able to burn the midnight oil and wake up fresh the next day, able to just gobble up anything and not gain an ounce, simply able to do anything and everything that I wanted. At 22 I was at the prime of my age, I didn't experience that many asthma attacks or any shortness of breath at all. It was truly liberating for someone who has been living her whole life dependent on the pump and other medications. 22 was also the time in which I discovered that I had the unusual liking for roller coaster rides. The discovery led to an addiction and found myself going for these kind of rides at any amusement parks. The best ones of course, were located at Sunway Lagoon and Genting Theme Parks and I have tried them all. I remember going on those rides over and over again, till it didn't excite me anymore.


So when I heard about Eye on Malaysia, I had major goosebumps, my husband likes to say it as kulit ayam, all over! I couldn't wait to hop into one of those gondolas and try to shake it just to scare other people, especially my husband. I figured, what is Eye on Malaysia compared to the rotating cable car at Mount Titlis in Switzerland right?


We made our way to Tasik Titiwangsa one clear night, and everybody promised to go on the gondola ride. From afar, it didn't look too formidable, or tall even, but as we approached the giant wheel, we gaped at its impressive height and structure. My daughter suddenly had cold feet, my husband being an acrophobic was all game,erm was he?, my son was jumping up and down, and yours truly was unusually quiet. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel the excitement of going on those rides. I couldn't feel the buzz, the rush, I couldn't feel anything. All I felt was the sweat in my palms, the butterflies in my stomach and the pounding of my heart.


I didn't want to appear as the weak link here, so I convinced my son and husband that we shouldn't go because my daughter wasn't ready to and the queue was a mile long. The night was instead spent enjoying the light and sound show, strolling around the garden, snacking on the kerepeks and simply keeping each other company. I learnt a few things that night: my husband is such a sport to put his fear aside for me, my son is uncontrollably irritating, my daughter is...well, my daugther! And I am no more that 22 year old girl(baru sekarang nak perasan, haih!) who could walk miles and miles and who loved falling from the sky kinda person anymore. The worst part is knowing that I could easily gain weight even when I'm not eating!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Colours Everywhere


My daughter chanced upon my Mother's Day entry and went into a frenzy after reading it. She protested, followed by my son and they insisted that they were inaccurately judged. They continued with the fact that I didn't ask for their permission to publicly display their work and ya da ya da ya da. I was put on trial by two tiny people. It was cute though and I just played along, my head down, all ears. I needed some entertainment in my life that I allowed this episode to happen, that's how pathetic I am.


They didn't plead, but demanded to paint again*oh no, when they paint, the colours wouldn't just land on their hands, they would be on the porch, on the garden chairs and table, on the leaves, on the front door, on the walls* I have always preferred the crayons and the colour pencils, but when they requested to paint, I just cracked inside.I wasn't in the mood for cleaning up and I gave my best shot to dissuade them by distracting them with their favourite cds, ice cream even, but to no avail.


The urge to paint and to prove their point was so powerful that they irately ransacked their drawers and took out the paint and brushes.It was as if they were on a patriotic mission, with the scorn look and serious expression on their faces, the soldiers marched outside in their pyjamas and started drawing, painting.





I was dumbfounded by this sudden urge of energy*if only they had the same energy to do their homework*.They were in their very own combat, and the enemy was me! The mission was to prove mama wrong, and so they did. Well these are what they came up with. Could you see the angry strokes? I have put this onto myself, and I take full responsibility for it, for all the damage done on the tables, on their stained bajus, on the leaves*I don't know why the paint always lands there* and on everything else. So Iman and A'dnin, you are my favourite artists now, and only your paintings and drawings should adorn the walls of our house.


My daughter's impression of our lawn.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head...


Artist: B.J. Thomas Lyrics
Song: Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

Raindrops keep falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his
Bed, nothing seems to fit. These
Raindrops keep falling on my head
They keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things
Done, sleep in' on the job, these
Raindrops keep falling on my head
They keep fallin'



But there's one thing I know, the blues they send to meet me
Won't defeat me, won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning
Red, crying's not for me, 'cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free, nothing's worryin' me.


It has been raining quite a lot lately, especially in the evenings. As much as I love the rain and the cool tidings it brings, sadly, it weakens my immune system. I am more prone to having my asthma attacks in this wet weather which are often accompanied with cough and flu. I tried to avoid being pelted by the rain but it proved to be impossible every time I had to fetch my daughter from school. The umbrella didn't seem to be big enough for both of us. Of course, I had to give her the bigger portion of the umbrella, leaving me drenched most of the time. The typical scenarios would be me jumping in the car with the dripping wet umbrella and wiping myself up before continuing our journey home. And once again when we reached our front gate, I had to leap out of the car, into the pouring rain to open the gate. Wet as wet can be, this has been going on for the last two weeks and hence this terrible flu cum cough cum asthma.

I am the type of person, alhamdulillah, who seldom gets sick. Maybe because I religiously take my vitamin C and calcium supplements everyday and drown myself with plenty of water. I am also the type of person who parks her car the farthest possible, just to get me going on foot and opts to climb the stairs instead of the escalator. All these rituals do drive my husband and children crazy, but I like doing them anyway as much as I love driving these people up the wall for fun sake! Despite all the healthy measures infused in my daily routines, I would inexorably get sick once in a while, and when I do, the whole family would be dragged into it as well. The worst one hit would be my husband, just because he hates greens, grains and anything healthy. He takes twice as long to recover, twice the extra attention, twice the care and twice the manja. The flu this time around, was hovering us longer than the usual. It has been more than 2 weeks and we still speak in that nasalized "sengau" tone!

The best food for your heart and soul during this vulnerable "gesundheit" moments is unquestionably Chicken Soup. I always have mine with rice, with mee hoon or with bread or even with pasta. This is just a simple recipe, one that is similar to the "Stone Soup" recipe.

1. Choose the bony parts of the chicken and boil for a long time, add some slices
of ginger, cloves and shallots to make the chicken stock.

2. Add some sliced meat in the same stock and probably a teaspoon or more of kurma
powder or maybe a bunjut of the adabi's sup bunjut.

3. Put in a cup of fleshy parts of the chicken and a quarter cube of anchovy stock.
I used Maggie anchovy stock.

4. Choose your favourite veggies, I put in a cup of celery, and carrots. Let it boil
till the veggies turned soft. A teaspoon of vinegar would be nice too.

Alright, now comes the "Stone Soup" part.

5. Add some egg tofu into the boiling soup.

6. A cup of brown oyster mushrooms.

7. Break an egg and let it curdle up.

8. Salt and pepper to taste.

9. Serve with some crunchy croutons.



There you have it, my simple Chicken Soup a.k.a Stone Soup. I better slurrrrp mine now before it rains again this evening and before "raindrops keep falling on my head..." la la la hmm hmm ti da da ti da...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cake of The Day

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Don't Fret Over Stale Bread


It was that time of the month again when I was forced by myself to clean the fridge. There were so many items that should have been in the garbage bin by now, things like 2 weeks old half bitten apple*my son's teeth mark was still visible*, 3 weeks old roti canai gravy,*which I kept just in case I wanted to eat it with roti* 10 days old slice of cake that turned rock hard which could have been used as a murder weapon, 16 days old cabbage and other greens that have disintegrated and have somehow diluted and had to be scooped out with a spoon and many other food items that just shouldn't be there anymore. But there were some good ones that still looked ok which got to stay, well at least till my next " operation fridge". I also took out a week's old loaf of bread and was trying hard to think of ways of how I could trick my kids into eating them, coz I wouldn't!*cruel grin* And here's what I have come up with...

Cheesy Savoury Bread Puff

Ingredients

1 bunch of spring onions, sliced,
Half cup(that's all I had) of diced chicken breast,
About 10 slices of white bread,could be more,depends on the size of your baking dish.
About 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese,
2 eggs whisked in 2 cups of milk with salt and pepper to taste.



1. Grease your baking dish with margarine.

2. Saute the chicken and spring onions till brown,

3. Meanwhile cut the bread into triangles and layer half of them in the baking dish.




4. Top with spring onions and chicken and half of the cheese


5. Beat together eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. Layer the remaining
triangles of bread in the dish and carefully pour over the milk mixture. Leave
to soak for 15 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the soaked bread pudding.
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C for 30 minutes or until puffed up and golden
brown.


It's an easy, must try recipe and it's a great way of making your kids finish all those leftover breads. And with the finished product looking all puffed up like that, they won't even know that it was bread under all those cheese, trust me. I think I'm gonna have some too...


Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day!



It was another one of my son's allergy episodes last night. He was coughing and having runny nose, all too familiar for this little guy. He has several allergies and being a boy it is rather challenging to contain him inside the house only, where I feel he would be less exposed to dust and certain types of plants that he is allergic to. And whenever he was down with this type of flu, I would be reaching for my trusted Vicks Vaporub to ease his breathing. It's a routine of applying it on his chest, his back and his soles. The same exact routine that I went through with my father. The olfactory effect of Vicks always brings back those memories, every single time.

I was that sickly asthmatic child that everybody knew. I was never allowed to run around, to play under the rain or to attend P.E lessons. I was always spotted in my sweaters in the morning, and even then I had Vicks in my school uniform pocket. But being a child, there were times when I felt like playing chase with my friends, gulping down a few glasses of icy "Sirap" that I was never allowed to drink at home and eating those "jeruk" that were sold at the back of my school which I knew would make me sick after. The outcome was instataneous, come nightfall. The attacks were often severe ones, sometimes they lasted the whole night even after medication of "Tedral" pills. During those critical moments, it was my father who stayed by myside throughout the whole wheezing ordeals, applying vicks on my chest and back, just like I am doing to my son now. He lost a lot of sleep, but his patience was still intact fortunately for me, as I was quite a disobedient child! There were many instances in which he had to cancel countless important trips or meetings just to attend to me, and I would like to thank him for that. There was even a time the whole family had to cancel an oversea trip*overseas during those days was just a trip to Medan* as I had to be admitted to the hospital! *my sibblings haven't really forgiven me for this, until now* Ha ha ha. It sounds funny now, but my brothers and sister weren't laughing back then.


So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my father from the bottom of my heart for all those sleepless nights, endless worryings, prolonged fear and concern over my health and to say that I am much much better now. Don't worry Ayah, I always have my vicks and my inhaler wherever I go. Now, it is my turn as a parent to worry about my son and to continue on with this Vicks routine. Happy Father's Day!

And to all fathers out there, A very Happy Father's Day to you too!



A father is always someone who you'd run to,
when mama scolded you,
A father is always someone who you'd like to test,
when mama turned down your request,
A father is someone who fixes things,
when your mechanical stuff stopped working,
A father often delights you with gifts,
and manages to pull off silly magic tricks
A father is over protective all of the sudden,
when one day you turned 11,
A father is that stern voice in your head,
when you are about to make a mistake,
He is the one who guides your thoughts,
and the person who advises your faults,
To everyone else he is just an ordinary individual,
But to you, He is "Absitively & Posulutely" your WORLD.


wiz

Under Construction...Still


Mirza's Birthday was over and that indicated that I have accomplished another daunting task of baking a novelty cake. A breath of relief I can assure you, as it wasn't an easy stroll in the park kind of undertaking, well for a novice baker like myself, it was a cry in the dark rather. I had everything sketched in my head, the things to do, the trinkets to buy, the landscape to create, everything was planned ahead. My head was overwhelmed with all these ideas but when the actual day of baking and icing arrived I was engulfed with mental exhaustion.



Anyhow, after all the cakes were baked and carved, it was time to drape them with appropriate colour of tangerine orange for the body of the vehicle and black for the wheels. All I needed to do now is to just ice the base cake with double cream ganache and put everything else together. The cakes were stacked on each other and they looked perfect, yours truly was happy and proud and went upstairs to take that much deserved sleep at 1.30am. Early morning the next day, on the day I had to deliver the cake, I came down to see a very different cake, not the same one I last saw the night before.The wheels had sunken, they were not visible anymore, the body of the vehicle seemed to droop. I had to consolidate the whole thing with many chocolate sticks to halt the sinking. Somehow it seemed to work, thank god. I don't think anyone noticed its defects, I hoped not. The cake managed to reach its destination in one piece, learnt a few lessons of the to do's and to not do's and hopefully this experience has made me a better cake maker.

My heartfelt thanks to Azlia for having faith in me to do Mirza's cake*I didn't even have faith in myself* Here's wishing that all of you liked the cake anyways. I consoled myself that day by having a generous serving of all the curly fries and onion rings*guilty grin*.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday Mirza!




On the surface, it was just another birthday party held at an A&W outlet. We have all heard of that before and chances are, we've all been to one, at least once. We have feasted on the burgers, the curly fries, the coney dogs and we have also gulped down that world famous beverage that has a dollop of ice cream floating on top. The food and the place were nothing new, the ambiance might be different, but what made this particular occasion something to look forward to was definitely and unquestionably the company: the people with whom you shared the great food. As far as I'm concerned, these are the people whose company I cherish more than anything else in this world. Call it corny, but I call it FAMILY

These are the people whom I grew up with, fought with, shared secrets with, had countless unforgettable family gatherings with. We have now all grown up*though we never felt like we have* have our own families to attend to, have our own professions that occupied the bulk of our time, and have our very own quandaries to mind. It has been inadvertently pulling us apart but at a party like this we came back as one again. We have changed in many ways, our sizes for instance: some have gone bigger, some have shrunk! Some have started playing football again and some have hung up their boots for good. Whilst some have switched to golf and one has even attempted to run a marathon! Despite all the changes in sizes and hobbies, we are still the same deep down, the giggles, the silly jokes, the way we walk and talk, nothing has changed. It was not just Mirza's birthday, but most significantly, it was a family day, well at least it was for me. So here's a glimpse of my family...

Our kids enjoyed the fun and games,



The parents watching felt the same,



Aunties, uncles, nieces and nannies,



And also these two hot ladies,



at a birthday party not to be missed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Once Bitten, Twice Smitten!


I had another packet of the mauripan yeast left and I was contemplating whether I should do doughnuts or bagels. Doughnuts are a regular treat and a favourite in this household. The kids are never tired of them, but I am! I wanted to try something different, something savoury which has minimal amount of fat. I have no discipline whatsoever when it comes to abstaining myself from fattening food or any types of food for that matter. So, for security sake, I opted to do bagels, oil free, but... laden with carbo! Ah well, you can't lose them all.

Here's a quick lesson on Bagels.

A bagel is traditionally a hefty, dense ring of somewhat bland tasting bread. But with different flours, such as rye and wheat, bagels take on different tastes. Add raisins, blueberries, strawberries, dates and nuts for a dessert-like bagel. Add veggies, onions, poppy seeds, peanut butter and other ingredients for an infinite variety of taste combinations.

The popularity of bagels is as much attributed to what you can put on them and in them as to what you add to the unbaked dough. They are the perfect vehicles for spreads. Most often spreads consist of a cream cheese base that may be mixed with salmon or lox, fruits, vegetables and spices -- in myriad combinations. There are regional differences in how bagels are made, and ongoing arguments about what constitutes the "perfect" bagel and best spread combination
.
Source: PastryWiz

This recipe is taken from The Australian Women's Weekly Cookbooks, but it has been thoroughly altered to suit my taste bud. So here's my version.

Bagels

1 packet Mauripan yeast (11gm)}
1 Tablespoon, castor sugar, } Combine and whisk to dissolve yeast and cover
1 cup warm milk, } bowl for 10 minutes till mixture is frothy.

3 cups flour }
1/2 teaspoon salt, } sifted and stir into the yeast mixture to form
1 Tablespoon castor sugar, } a firm dough.

1 egg yolk to glaze
1 Tablespoon of garlic salt/
1 Tablespoon poppy seed, if you could find some.


1. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough into greased bowl, cover, put aside until dough has doubled its size.
2. Knead dough again and divide into 12 equal portions. Knead each portion into a ball.


3. Press finger in centre of each ball to make a hole and rotate ball with finger until hole is one third size of the bagel. Place bagel about 3cm apart on grease tray, cover and wait 15min or until risen.

4. Drop bagels individually into a pot of boiling water, after 1 minute turn to the other side for another 1 minute of boiling.

5. Remove with slotted spoon or sieve and immediately put on a greased oven tray.




Brush top with egg yolk and sprinkle with sea salt, or as I did mine with Garlic Powder. Ideally sprinkle with poppy seeds.



6. Bake for 20 minutes in a moderately hot oven.

7.Serve hot!



You can enjoy them plain, or have them with cream cheese dips or any toppings of
your fancy.
Well, I had mine with stir fried cream mushrooms.

I love the chewiness of these bagels and I could just have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's a meal on its own. But if you had that bit of extra time, you could prepare this simple and delicious stir fried mushrooms to go with those bagels.

Cream Mushrooms

250gm of the brown fresh mushrooms.(sorry I don't know the exact scientific name)
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic,
1 Tablespoon of diced shallots,
1 Tablespoon of whipped cream,(you can substitute with evaporated milk)
salt and pepper to taste.

Saute garlic and shallots til fragrant, put in the mushrooms and later the cream. Season with salt and pepper. This dish could be eaten with rice, really gooood.
So much of staying away from fat, I had three at one go just now! *feeling guilty*

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mark This!


It's always nice to go to a shop and be welcomed and greeted by your first name. It would be even nicer to purchase all the things that you needed and to be given special discounts for them. And it would be the nicest if your endless queries were entertained with smiles. To find such a shop in KL is like searching a needle in a haystack, a rare occurence. Nevertheless, under all that hay and dust, after sneezing millions of times, I finally found that needle! It's a brand new one, and it is located in Prima Saujana Kajang.

Best Mark Trading or BMT adopts the concept "Everything under One Roof". "Everything" encompasses baking, sewing and packaging necessities. It also houses wedding paraphernalia such as the "bunga telur", "bunga pahar", ribbons, paper bags, beads, buttons, so on and so forth. The shop is not limited to adults but it caters to kids of all ages as well, offering toys, stationery, hair acessories, simply a little bit of everything. But most importantly, it offers that genuine friendly service that's been missing all this while. So, if you are around Kajang do drop by at BMT and say Hi to Jeffrey, Jason and Jia Shin. I give you my word that they will be more than happy to assist you in anyway that they can.*Jeffrey, you owe me BIG time!*


Your baking needs,


Your children's treats,


Containers and stuff,


Ribbons and crafts.

Best Mark Trading
C-8-GA, Jalan Prima Saujana,
Taman Prima Saujana,
43000 Kajang,
Selangor.

Jeffrey Hom Jia Way
B. Appl.Comp(NZ)
Business Manager
012-6111030


Opening Hours

Every Day from 10.30 am to 9pm

Cakes of the Day




When a good client of mine called the other day asking for a Barbie cake, I quivered. I wasn't ready to do a standing Barbie cake again, after the recent ruinous incident in Ipoh. My anxiety subsided when she requested a simpler cake with Barbie sticker as the centre of the decoration. Alhamdulillah, her choice just made my day, well my weekend! I will definitely attempt to accomplish another standing Barbie cake, now that I have learnt a few tricks of the trade, but just not this weekend. The Barbie sticker will have to do for my clients...well for now. So, here are the two cakes I made today with just the stickers.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Delivering Barbie: No Child's Play...

My journey back to Ipoh has never been as nerve wrecking as this recent one, except for when I had to bring my boyfriend(now my husband) to meet my parents, all of us were sweating profusely even with the air condition at full blast...well that's another long story. This time around, I had to transport a standing fondant Barbie cake, and we were all going in my brother's car! The car wasn't a problem at all, it's a Honda CRV with DVD to keep my children occupied and their hands off the cake, it was my brother's driving that worried me. Yeop, as he is fondly called, drives through everything, every single bump, ramp and hump. It was a joyride for my kids though...weee, yea, woow, but it was ride of terror for me!!!!! The cake was initially placed in front, but half way through my daughter noticed..."Mama, why is barbie leaning?" I wanted to cry. We had to move the cake to the back whilst the car was still moving. Barbie had moved from its base cake and the fondant was everywhere! I had to dial the emergency number...my sis's, my only hope.*Thanks Da* The plan was to cover the tears, cracks and all the other "lacerations" of poor Barbie with candies, smarties, jellybeans, mentos, marshmallows or whatever it took to fix it. I instructed my sis to get the sweets before we reached Ipoh.

To cut the story short, it took over 150 drops of Mentos,*excluding the ones lost in my sis's, my mum's mouths*, 20 jellybeans and a cup of royal icing to repair Barbie. I practically cleared the nearby Makcik's shop off her Mentos! And the outcome is....

Initially it looked like this...



4 gruelling hours later it looked like this...



I think it looked better after.

And this is the birthday girl's expression upon seeing her Barbie cake...



Everyone complimented on how nice Barbie turned out and fortunately no one except for my sis, husband, and kids knew about the catastrophic episode with Barbie.
It was a colourful birthday party with great food, wonderful company, beautiful weather, balloons, bubbles and smiles in the air.





Even Baby Fira was all smiles,



and that made Makyang very happy.