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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Day Roti Pratha Marries Asparagus

I was feeling a little bit adventurous today and was ready to try something extraordinary. I bought myself a bunch of asparagus, and spent the entire morning googling for some interesting recipes. I am not too familiar on how one cooks this vegetable (asparagus comes from the Lily family) and what are the best ways to enjoy them. Thought of stir frying them, or just blanching them, but that was too ordinary, remember the operative word today was EXTRAORDINARY. The search lasted for quite awhile when I stumbled upon an index of asparagus recipes, a long long list of them! But in the end, I decided to do it my way and concocted the recipe below since I didn't have many of the ingredients requested in most of the recipes.

Asparagus Pie

Ingredients

2 Tablespoon canola oil,
1 Tablespoon table margarine or butter,
1 bunch fresh asparagus( bought mine at tesco for 3.50),trimmed and cut into 1 inch,
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 Tablespoon diced garlic,
1 Tablespoon diced shallots,
1 Teaspoon of black pepper,
salt to taste

In a glass put a Tablespoon of milk powder and a Tablespoon of cornflour, mix with half cup of water.

2 pieces of roti Pratha (mine is Tesco Brand),thawed.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the shallots and the the garlic till fragrant. Throw in the carrots, stir fry for 2 minutes before putting in the asparagus. Cook for about 5 minutes. Now, pour in the milk and cornflour mixture and stir constantly. Sprinkle the black pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.


The cooked asparagus above is actually ready and tasty to eat. You can skip the step below if don't fancy them baked. But it's worth the try.

2. Lay one sheet of the roti pratha ( you can also use the puff pastry )at the bottom of your baking dish. You may need to cut and use the access roti to cover the uncovered area. Spread the asparagus mixture evenly over the dough. Top with the other sheet of roti pratha, and pinch the edges together to seal. The roti pratha is a good substitute for puff pastry.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until pastry is golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.



Since nobody likes vegetables in this house, I had the whole dish to myself! Feeling healthy already.

All Rice!

I was waiting anxiously this morning for my son to wake up and utter "...mama, anin nak makan nasi" But he didn't. He woke up, still groggy and was not his perky self this cold morning. He didn't even bother to run downstairs to watch Sesame Street.It has been three "rice free" days now and it's a sign that he is still unwell from the viral cum allergy fever.

My son's affinity with nasi started ever since he was introduced to it. He could have it at anytime of the day, buttered or just plain, warm or cold, he likes it anyway. He never complains if there were no fried chicken or telur goreng, no kicap or kuah to eat with. He could still finish a plateful of rice, bersuap of course. If we ever eat out on special occasions, we would have to choose a place that serve rice, so McDonald's is always last on the list. KFC and A&W come first as they have included rice in their menu now. Of course there were times when we did go to McD or other non rice resturants, and my son would just be happy with a plate of fries. But for the past three days, a big portion of rice I cooked has gone bad, unfinished, uneaten. Eventhough I knew that Adnin didn't have the appetite when he is sick, I still cooked the same 2 cups of rice, just in case he changes his mind, just in case he wakes up in the middle of the night and asks for it. He is known for that. I guess he won't be asking for it for a few days more, not until he recovers from his fever. And his sore throat won't be that sharp feeling in his mouth he's been complaining about.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Than A Few Words


Quite a few people have asked me why do I write, sms, or express myself in long sentences. And I reciprocated, "...probably because I was a teacher, still am in my heart." And it goes without saying that teachers don't only tell, they explain. Perhaps, I am just a long winded person.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Baking Love Out Of Nothing At All


I must confess that I haven't been a very good mother lately. I was overwhelmed with Sesame Street cupcake orders which left me with very limited cooking time. The past week only had the children feeding on all types of Nasi Gorengs. Monday was Nasi Goreng telur day, Tuesday was Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis, Wednesday was Nasi Goreng Ayam, Thursday was Nasi Goreng Sayur(they hated this the most) and yesterday was Nasi Goreng Telur again for lunch and the express Pizza for dinner. They have never complained or protested when Nasi Goreng was all I had to offer, in fact they loved it. They are an easy bunch of kids to please, and knowing that fact, I have probably taken advantage of it more often than I should.

The long week finally came to an end when all the cake orders of the Sesame Street cupcakes, the Manchester United Cake(will post the pics later), and the standard chocolate cakes have all been delivered. I couldn't rest yet though, I still needed to bake something as an offering to my children(sounds like I have to appease a volcano here) for being understanding and sweet all week long. I wanted to bake some chocolate chip cookies that they have been asking for a long time now, but unfortunately I didn't have much to work with. I ran out of the most important ingredient, butter/margarine. Nevertheless, I believe strongly that if you have this true and sincere intentions, things would work their ways for you. You just have to keep believing in the outcome of seeing those heart warming smiles on your children's faces. So this is what I did with only a handful of ingredients...


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: All Recipe

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract( I didn't put any)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the vegetable oil, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Blend in the dry ingredients, then fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made a batch of double chocolate chip cookies by adding two Tablespoon of cocoa powder to the existing dough and it came out great too.

It doesn't really take much to make the most important people in your world happy. All it took for me was a few cups of flour and a cup of chips and whole lotta love. Now, that I have appeased the volcanoes, I can take that deserving rest. Well people, til the next volcano offering ritual...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Cups Worth

The 25th to the 28th day always prove to be a challenging time for me. It's that few days before we usher a brand new month, brand new gaji, brand new hope in a not so brand new body. It also means the pantry is almost empty, almost stripped of its food supply, be it in a canned form, or plastic packed ones. My children kept asking me this evening what's for dinner Ma? And my standard reply was, it's a surprise. It never fails to excite them, and it's the only way to be left alone to work in the kitchen. I didn't feel like eating rice tonight and furthermore Mr. Husband has left for his team building camp and won't be back till Sunday, so this head had more room to roam around for quick and easy ideas. Headed towards the kitchen cabinet and stretched my neck to see what was left way back on the shelf and spotted a packet of yeast. I had a few bags of flour still and with yeast a kitchen can be a magical place! I didn't bother to even reach for my recipe books, I just took the flour and the yeast and mixed them up and voila about 50 minutes later tea and dinner were ready to be served! So proud of myself.

Express Doughnuts

2 cups of multi purpose flour
2 Tablespoon milk powder,
2 Tablespoon of castor sugar,
A pinch of salt,
1 packet of yeast (11gm)
1 teaspoon bread improver,
3/4 of warm water,
2 Tablespoon of table margarine.


Mix all the dry ingredients first and slowly pour the warm water till a dough is formed. You might need less or more water. If it is still too sticky just sprinkle a little bit of flour. Knead dough with the margarine and leave it around half an hour or till it doubles the size. Sprinkle some flour on your working space before placing the well risen dough and knead a little bit more before rolling it. I used a cookie cutter to make into balls. Cover the balls for another 15 minutes or so before frying them.

I had a small bowlful of dough left and I decided to make a pizza base. Just roll the remaining dough to fit into a 9 inch pan and prepare the the pizza sauce.

Express Pizza Sauce
(enough to cover a 9 inch pan)

1 large yellow onion,
1 Tablespoon of tomato paste,
2 Tablespoon of Tomato sauce,
1 teaspoon of sugar,
1 teaspoon of oregano.

Saute the diced onions till fragrant and put the rest in and cook for 1 minute or so.
Spread the paste on the pizza dough. For fillings I used three sticks of sliced sausages and a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 170 C till golden brown.


There you have it, tea and dinner made from only two cups of flour.

Alright kids, Close your eyes...ta da! (oohs and aahs)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Take to Heart


My father was admitted to IJN two days ago. He was experiencing faint spells and shortness of breath and was advised to go for a more thorough check up at IJN. He is alright now, the doctor gave him the thumbs up after the procedure and was discharged a day later. His cholesterol level is still high and he has to be on a constant low fat diet. So no more fattening santan dishes, those creamy durians and puluts, which are all his favourite by the way.


When I went to see him at my sis's place, I decided to bring him some wholesome goodness from my sekangkang semut oven. A freshly baked "heart friendly" desserts, that couldn't get any healthier than these. It's my version of carrot cake, and I think these are the best ones I have made so far. This is a must try recipe and should be a keeper as well, simply because of its healthy entities. Your heart would love you for making them and they are moist, oozing with natural goodness and most importantly, delicious.

Carrot Cake

1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda,
half teaspoon salt,
2 large Omega 3 eggs,
1/2 cup brown sugar,(the sugar has been reduced, you could put 1 cup)
3/4 cup canola oil,
1 teaspoon vanilla,
1 teaspoon cinnamon,
1 1/2 cup grated carrots,
1 cup grated peeled red apples,
half cup roasted chopped walnuts,
half cup raisins.

1. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and set aside.
2. Beat eggs, sugar and add oil, vanilla and spice, beat till well combined.
3. Spoon in the dry ingredients and continue to beat.
4. Stir in carrots, apples, walnuts and raisins.

Bake at 175 C till skewer comes out clean or till golden brown.

Doses of Roses



Doses of Roses

Beautiful Roses of white and pink,
adorn my cake with leaves in between.
A magnolia base with a touch of green,
tender petals, made with buttercream.
Doses of Roses all on one cake,
they are neither fresh nor entirely fake.
My first attempt I would again make,
a labour of love, gladly I decided to take.


wiz

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Up on a Tree



I need to get away for awhile to sort things out. The floor needs waxing, the chimney needs sweeping, the elephant needs feeding, the porch needs polishing, the roof needs painting, the nose hair needs plucking, the entire system needs flushing. If you happen to pass by my house, look up on the tree, you might be able to see me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Once Upon a Grime

Once upon a time, when I decided to be a "stay at home" mom, I laid out some tacit rules in my head as a guideline to be that TV commercials portrayal of a Good mom. A good mom in those adds are always seen smiling and looking so fresh even after a hard day. They are clad in light coloured, mostly white attires beaming with that powdery glow on their oil free faces. Similarly, their children are always looking prim and proper. I aspired to be one of those moms, tried to emulate them as close as I could and made sure that my children too were spotted in clean bajus and uniforms at all times. At the initial stage I was full of energy and zest, cleaning and scrubbing everything, washing every single white baju individually by hand, treating laundry by the rules of Martha Stewart. I kinda imagined I was her too just to motivate myself that these chores were doable. In the process, I fell prey to a basketful of cleaning products from the very expensive detergents to the cheapest cap burung ones.

However, as the children got older, more and more stains that would make bleach manufacturers blush, started to surface on their bajus and uniforms respectively. The marks got more and more difficult to wash away and my tolerance was wearing thinner and thinner everyday. The stains changed according to their age, from just the mark of spilled milk or milo on their uniforms which eventually matured to the tougher stains of the sambal nasi lemak or the kuah roti canai.*shrug*

In the TV adds, pretty mothers with silhouette figures are often seen embracing their children as they returned from school.*the scenes are always in slow motion for some I don't know what reasons* In reality for me nowadays, yours truly would be seen in her seluar taichi, in a more shadowy figure, frowning and scrutinizing the stains on her children's uniforms before making physical contact with them. I'm just exaggerating but the frowning part is true. I couldn't keep up with the perpetual smudges and never ending sambal stains on their uniforms anymore. I just got deflated after the second school year. I stashed my washboard away and decided to go easy on addressing the laundry issue.


I have reduced myself to only soaking the soiled clothes and just tenyehing them a little before mixing them with the other bajus. Am I a good launderer? NO! Am I a good mother? I leave it to my kids to be the judge of that.

PS. None of the products above worked! The only thing that has vanished is my self esteem.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Alif is for Allah

A peaceful song to soothe those weary hearts.
by Yusuf Islam

Selamat Menyambut Bulan Rejab!



A' is for Allah, nothing but Allah;
Ba is the beginning of Bismillah;
Ta is for Taqwa, bewaring of Allah;
and Tha is for Thawab, a reward;
Ja is for Janna, the Garden of Paradise;
Ha is for Hajj, the blessed pilgrimage;
Kha is for Khaatem, the seal of the prophethood given to the Prophet, Muhammed (SAW);
Da is for Deen, Al-Islam, religion with Allah since time began;
Dha is for dhikr, remembering Allah;
and Ra is for the month of Ramadhan, ohh Ramadhan;
Za is for Zakat to pure our greed, when we give our money to those in need;
Sa is for Salamu alaikum, peace be with you wa'alaikum assalam;
Sha is for shams, the shining sun, which Allah placed for everyone;
and Sua is for salat, for when we pray facing him, everyday, facing him, till we meet our lord;

Allah there's only one God and Muhammed is his Messenger. Allah, La ilaha illa'allah;

Dua is for duha, the morning light, the sun has turned from red to white;
Tua is for tareeq, the path to walk upon;
and Dhua is for dhil, a shadow;
and Aa is for ilm, the thing to know, to make our knowledge grow, in Islam;
Gha is for ghaib, a world unseen and that we know is not a dream;
Fa is for, the Opening, Al-Fatiha;
and Qua for the Qur'an, the book of God;
and Ka is for kalima, a word we're taught to teach us what is good and what is not;
and La is for the beginning of La ilaha illa'allah;
Ma is for the Messenger Muhammed-ur-Rasoolillah. La ilaha illa'allah, Muhammed-ur-
Rasulilllah;

Allah, there's only one God and Muhammed is his Messenger. Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;

Na is for nawm, the sleep God gave to give us rest after the day;
Ha is for the Hijra, the journey that, the Prophet made;
and Wa for wudu before we pray to help us wash our sins away;
and Ya is for Yaumiddin.

Allah, there's only one God and Muhammed is his Messenger.Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;
Allah, there's only one God and Jesus was his Messenger. Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;
Allah, there's only one God and Moses was his Messenger. Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;
Allah, there's only one God and Abrahamwas his Messenger. Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;
Allah, there's only one God and Noah was his Messenger. Allah, la ilaha illa'allah;

Allah, there's only one God and He created Adam and we are the children of Adam. Allah la illaha illa'allah.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thomas The Tank Engine


First of all, Happy Birthday Bryan!

This is the first time I was given the opportunity to do a cake complete with an instruction manual and a sample model given to me as well. Little Bryan must love Thomas so much for the mommy to provide me with all the details. Thanks to Farin and sister for helping me with the printouts of the guideline since I couldn't get connected to the net for the past two weeks. For anyone who would like to attempt Thomas the tank engine cake, please feel free to visit this great Thomas cake blog for an illustrative tutorial.


The whole cake required almost three batches of batter. You need a lot since you have to stack layers and layers of cakes with buttercream fillings in between. After that is done, the cake has to be iced for one night for easy sculpting. It was a fun cake to do and made simpler with the tutorial and the model in front of me.


Here's wishing that Bryan likes his Thomas. And perhaps this is the only time he can really put Thomas in his mouth without his mommy saying, "...Bryan, don't put Thomas in your mouth!" Bryan is three by the way.



For your listening pleasure, here's a song by Kate Winslet featuring Thomas, Yey! *Thanks Salina*

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away!



A good client of mine, has been making me busy doing Sesame Street cupcakes for the past 1 week. She first ordered 54 pieces, a few days later another 68 and yesterday, she requested for another 20.*Thanks Anne* It was fun making all those familiar monster characters, but it was difficult to create the exact expressions that you thought you knew so well. The entire do took up a lot of time, rolling the fondant, dotting the eyes, mixing up the accurate colour shade for each character, all required a lot of patience, but it was passion that got me through. These friendly monsters had me reminiscing for the entire time, thinking of those colourful childhood memories which made me sing to the cheerful theme song. In retrospect, I remembered always trying to catch the wordings everytime the show was on, but never really managed to capture the entire song. So, this entry is specially written for those people like me, children of young and old, who grew up watching Sesame Street and never got to sing the whole song properly. Lets hold hands and sing this together, ha ha ha I know, that would be too corny! Just follow the lyrics and enjoy the song. Hope it brings back sweet memories to you as much as it definitely does to me. Here we go...and a 1 and a 2 and a 3...Sunny day...




Sunny Day

Sunny day
Sweepin’ the clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet.
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street,

Come and play
Everything’s A-OK
Friendly neighbors there
That’s where we’ll meet
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street

It’s a magic carpet ride
Every door is open wide
To happy people like you–
Happy people like
What a beautiful

Sunny day
Sweepin’ the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street…
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to…


Sesame Street:Sunny Day lyrics

A Belated Apology



Dear Adik Ridzman,

Apologies are not at rest,
for a cake that didn't look its best.
An action that was never done,
deliberately or for fun.
I tried my best to keep it nice,
but sometimes long distance is a vice.
I placed it on my lap for extra care,
my kids weren't allowed to touch it, they didn't dare!
It was raining hard through and through,
we kept braking, something we hated to do.
The heavy traffic didn't really help either,
the road was slippery, it didn't get any better.
When it stopped raining, I was truly glad,
but when I saw the cake I was really sad.
It wasn't the same cake I worked on for 3 days,
the base was smudged, the details were fazed.
I couldn't fix it to look like the original,
No matter how hard I tried, it was just impossible,
just to make it look nice again like it was before,
patched things up, as long as it wasn't an eyesore.
It was your 7th birthday, you deserved much better,
how I wished Reina, Alonso, Crouch, Kuyt and Carragher,
could be there in person serenading you the birthday jingle,
just to make you happy coz I know the cake surely didn't.


My heartfelt apology to Adik Ridzman and family.
A discount of 50% for your next cake purchase is all I could offer for now. Hope that compensates the whole ordeal of celebrating with an incomplete cake.

Warmest regards
Auntie Wiz

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back Online!


My internet connection went haywire for two weeks and so did I. Never thought I would miss blogging so much. It is my sanity line, as I call it. An outlet of pent up expressions are safer written than expressed in forms of loud verbal exchanges or worse still descriptive hand gestures. I am writing from my new dell desktop and still struggling to figure out its many features. I will jot down my rantings as soon as I finish all my cake orders for this weekend. Bear with me for just a little while longer.