Monday, September 29, 2008

Suara Takbir

A deep resonant of Hari Raya songs often amplifies the Raya mood longed for this beautiful occasion. This is the occasion where most of us are captured in our pensive mode rather than a cheery one. I'm not exactly certain to how this emotion came about for the majority of us but it persists to stay come each Raya. Even our takbir carries this tone, unlike some I heard from other countries, they belt their takbir in a victorious manner. For me, it's that sayu feeling of longing to go back, not just home but back to the days when we were kids.

I miss the times of packing the little that we had and drove back to Taiping where my grandmother stayed. Squeezing the four of us at the back seat with one squirming brother whose idea of pleasure was to see his sisters wail with unrestful emotions was an adventure in itself. The journey would commence with us fighting to have the seat next to the window. There were only two of those and there were four of us. It even started earlier, the night before, with us girls often "chup"ing the seats first but to our brothers, our words did not match with their might. And needless to say we lost to them aaaaall the time. Benci Tau!

Air condition was a luxury in those days. Travelling with the screen down was the way to go. We loved the wind in our hair, well not all of us though. Sitting with one brother who was adamant on saving his hair from the vicious wind and also from the embarrassment of unruly hair upon arrival, always left us perspiring more than we should,*laughs*. He kept the window on his side with a 1 and a half inch opening and that was after much argument and tossing and turning. If he had it his way he wanted it shut! He wanted all the windows shut, let rain or shine or fart or screams or shouts. We went berserk every time we had him travelling with us in one car. But we survived the journey with extra body odour to boot.

Oooh I could just rant about the hey days folks, but I still have bags to pack, cookies and cakes to deliver and that sayu mood to recapture. I have exactly the song to make me wobbly, shaky and tottery and you are listening to it right now.

Have a beautiful, blessed Eid with friends and family folks. Drive carefully, stop and rest if you must.

Take care!

Ps. Honk if you see a yellow refrigerator on the road. Don't forget to wave too alright. I'll wave back atcha!

Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin everyone!

image by Dark Flashy on flickr

Many thanks for those who ordered. Thank you so much Natasya, Sara, Erna, Nina and Dee.

Selling, Selling,... Sold!

A promise not to accept extra Raya orders for cookies and cake has left me with that hollow sound in my purse. Unlatching it and seeing the emptiness has put me into a trance of melancholic thoughts of my parents. I needed more money to bring home this Raya. The ones I have slid into the raya envelopes aren't enough. They deserve more. And so with that thought, I worked myself out for the past three days baking cakes and cookies. Dan terjadi lah operasi "fast sale". I was uncertain if my goods would be a hit since everyone has ordered and bought their Raya rations but it was worth the try.

Location: My husband's office
Target buyers : Staff of his office and my students.
Items for Sale: Fudgy chocolate cake, gooey fruit cake, and chocolate chip cookies.

Operasi ini berjalan dengan jayanya! Alhamdulillah! The items were grabbed as early as I was transporting them at the elevator. The cakes went fast, the cookies were a bit slow. My excitement rose upon seing the good response and to increase sales I had to increase the volume. Rushed back after class and baked some more but with my period cramps, I could only do so much. The next morning I was surprised to see some who bought my cakes the day before returning for moreeeeeee. Mostly were my students who claimed that they had finished the cake even before they could surrender them to their parents as buah tangan. My Pak Arabs wiped all my wares in a blink of an eye. They loved the fruit cakes and the chocolate cakes, not much of a cookie monster. As a matter of fact, they weren't enough to cater to all of them. Thanks guys!

My nawaitu has been rewarded handsomely by the Al Mighty, alhamdulillah. The thought of contributing some to the needy has probably clenched the whole affair. All proceeds went to the deserving owners. The last week of Ramadhan didn't grant me the opportunity to stay up awaiting for lailatul Qadar deep in my solat, but instead I was deep in cookie dough and cake batter in the name of a good cause. Hopefully it is accepted as a form of ibadah for me insyallah.

And that's a good feeling.

Terima Kasih Everyone!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Road Taken

If I was asked to name a person I know, whom I think is the luckiest and the most blessed, Linda would top the list for sure. A doting mother of three, a wife to one of course and a friend to many, Linda also reigns the spot of being diligent in whatever she puts her mind to. I have always envied that trait in her as I have not a pinch neither a dash of that diligent ingredient. And a few nights ago I envied her even more, for possessing that secret ingredient, she managed to bring the whole entourage to the UK in pursuit of her Phd. They will be residents of New Castle for a good five years and apart from being green with envy, I am also all yellow with happiness for them as well as blue with sadness. She is that friend who all this while was just an sms away whenever I thought of something funny to say or that person a call away if I wanted to drop by for late supper. The point is, she has always been there, and I here.

Linda and husband Pak Nip all ready to set sail. Bon Voyage Linda! sob! sob! We will miss you guys so much. Rumah sapa I nak gi raya ni?

Flipping back the pages, I remember my times with her during our University years with a chuckle. We used to stay at the same hostel but in different rooms. But whenever I got scared or sick with asthma, I would drag my blue sleeping bag over to her place. Her roommate Ayu didn't seem to mind either. Their two single beds were pushed close together and I would, excuse me excuse me, snuggle myself in the middle. Many peaceful sleeps were charted there as I didn't have to wake up every other hour minding what was that noise I heard at the door or that lonesome footsteps along the corridor.

She has also been that adult figure I wished I could emulate someday. I haven't developed or become even half of her matured stature. I do blame all my childlike demeanor to the absence of my wisdom tooth. I haven't grown one yet you see, hence this persistent problem. Anyway, being the adult in this friendship, she brings me down to my senses most of the time. She was the person who got me started into this baking endeavour, asking me to explore my talents with the art of baking. To her I owe my thanks for the baker I am today.

In contrast, unlike me, Linda has taken the road that was there all along. The road pitched with signboards directing you to the paths of your related field. The road doesn't necessarily be free of troubles but once on it, you just need to cruise
through and maneuver around the bends and potholes. You do require gallons of patience which is essential to pull you through but in the end, insyallah you will get there. It is just a matter of time.

I was there once upon a time at that junction. Fiddling with my indecisiveness, I failed to stay on any of the constructed roads. Instead, I trotted unknowingly to the little opening in between. Signboards and maps were non existent, only my instinct became my compass. I hurdled through and tripped countless of times whilst sighing at the possibilities of the other roads "... having perhaps the better claim"(Robert Frost) I did heap a little sigh all the way but I knew I had to move on hoping to sight friendlier pastures on higher grounds. I am still climbing folks, scaling each step with much difficulties, leaving coloured pebbles behind in case I get lost. There will be times when I have to crawl, clamber and struggle just to see the light of day but as long I as continue to escalate, that is good enough for me.

Remember that little opening in between ? Well it has led me to this...

Thank You so much Nadia!

Many thanks to Natasya. Hope your little pet frog has turned into that handsome prince.;o)

I'm also gearing up for a totally different climb. I will tell you when I get there. And when I do, don't forget to ask me to jump. Coz all you could hear me screaming then is...

"...How high?"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Road Not Taken

It was one late evening when I received an email from a dear dear friend. Her words hustled through with that familiar ring in my head, an awakening of some sort. And for many breaths, I found myself lamed for words. It was unnerving to be robbed of words, even more so when you actually had so much to say. Gathering and putting my thoughts in order have never been so difficult, but I punched those keys anyway.

The similarities between us made it easy for me to relate to her predicament. After all, we were both once in the same office working in the same web. I untangled myself earlier leaving her bouncing to no end. But she was strong, she came through. And now, after many years of weaving the strands, good things came stringing with a prestigious offer to study abroad, on a full sponsorship. In between everything else, she made time to write a book and had it published! Now she is reaping the fruits of her labour

... but somehow other people were unhappy and wrote her emails one too many.

To my dear friend,

We strayed in our paths to open new doors, paving the way, unwary of the thorns and the broken twigs. We chose to cruise on the long winding road unbeknownst of the destination, hoping it would at least be scenic above all else. We might be traveling alone but in solitude we learnt the best. The destination is still so blurry but the journey thus far supercedes our expectations, and would you like to know why? because we...

"...took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."(Robert Frost)

your friend

Thank you Sweetie Hani.

Thanks so much Seri.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

They Say...

...good things come in threes.

Thanks Jessica!

Jess ordered 12 designs with 12 different flowers for her final year project. I asked her again, 12? Jess? Logically I politely declined. She came back with many more emails explaining the dire need of the 12 different cupcakes for her project. She initially requested for 50 pieces but upon negotiation I only agreed to do 36 with 12 designs altogether.

Hope you passed with flying cupcakes Jess. Now toss up that mortar board, you're now a graduate!Yay!

*Suddenly I am not feeling so young anymore. I graduated when the dinasours still roamed this Earth! Looooooooooooong time agoooooooooooooo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Arabian Night

They came from faraway places,
All for the good of knowledge,
Making friends, meeting new faces,
Exchanging cultures at the centre stage.

It's all in the spirit of sharing,
Of virtue, idea and generosity,
In Islam they express the strength of caring,
for brothers and sisters of Adam and Eve.

Twas the night of many little splendours,
Blessed with Arabian coffee and delicacies,
The bond at Iftar created wonders,
Brothers and sisters from Malaysia,Indonesia,
Oman,Sudan,Iraq,Iran and Saudi,
enjoying each other's company.


To my dearest students of IEP, thank you so much for the most delicious food, the contagious laughter, the fresh Arabian coffee, tamar and music but most of all for teaching me and my family that the beauty of each other's culture transcends beyond linguistic barriers.

* But that does not mean English is not important, it still is, and by the way your test is this Friday, muahahahaha muahahaha. I am the evil teacher they so love to hate.

My cakes were being devoured by Osama.

My students are excellent cooks. They cooked most of the food served here and they were delicious!

Interesting head gears worn that night.

From Oman
From Iraq
From Malaysia
From Riyadh he he he

Our very own desert Rose (Nevy)

With class lecturer Puan Faridah. She was the hostess of that evening. Thanks for receiving me Puan Faridah!

*Yang pakai baju Maroon kat bawah tu is from Somalia, ahaks. He is my Somalian sweetheart.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Here Comes The Pride...

Sugar figurines are the sweetest asperities ever imagined by me. Clueless most of the time, moulding them can take up hours to days all in the name of capturing the most acceptable presence as cake toppers. It has never been easy to transfigure the pictorial image you have in your mind onto the figurines. The absence of proper tools is also a governing factor in certain failures. However, in the end, after numerous unsuccessful attempts, I retired with the thought of only the Almighty creates perfect pictures. It humbled me tremendously. And that's a good feeling.

Many thanks to Ashley! And Congratulations on your upcoming Wedding.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Piece Of Cake!

As corny as the title to this entry is, the recipe I'm going to share with you is exactly just that. I have whipped up this recipe twice this Ramadhan and at both times those fragrant slices filled the entire room with much anticipation for break fast. The familiar asian aroma of coconut milk and pandan leaves managed to entice even the anti "pandan" kids. And the fuss free recipe makes any "lazy mama" such as yours truly, to roll up her sleeves and bake without that frown on her face, the twitch in her eye and that limp on her leg. This is an easy peasy recipe folks created especially for undomesticated goddess and common sense impaired people alike. I am all of the above hence a recipe perfect for me.

Coconut Pandan Cake

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup of Castor sugar
4 medium large eggs

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt,

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon of pandan essence
1/2 teaspoon of green food colouring

A box of santan(equivalent to 1 cup of thick santan)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Source : My mak's old family resepi book.


1. Beat eggs and sugar on high speed untill frothy and creamy. Add in the essences and the food colouring and mix well.

2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture and beat on medium speed.

3. Pour in half of the santan content into the mixture and blend well. Alternate this step with the dry and wet ingredients, finishing off with the dry ingredients. Beat till smooth.

4. Lastly, fold in the vegetable oil in the batter.

5. Pour the batter into loaf tins or you can use an eight inch cake tin.

6. Bake in 180 degrees celcius for 40 minutes or untill the skewer comes out clean.

Serve hot with a cup of steaming kopi kampung.

*To vary, you may add a cup of chocolate chips or raisins.

Have fun baking and see you in a bit.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Father And Son

In my quest of searching New Zealand's best places of interest via the Internet, I stumbled upon a Malaysian blogger living in Auckland. Awkwardly being a stranger to this kind man, I asked him for his assistance in suggesting some of the venues he felt worth going. Graciously, Dee as he is known amongst his friends, tipped me off with an endless places to visit list, answered many of my silly questions and agreed to meet up during my stay there. That was 2 months ago.

From then on we became friends and recently he became my customer when he ordered a very special cake for his son who is staying with his sister in Puchong. He had the moon and the stars for this cake and if he could wish for the sun, he would line them all up in a row with the entire solar system as the background for his little guy. A wish like that sweeps you off easily and switches your maternal mode on. When that happens, you bake not just from your heart but with your heart. Baking and decorating the cake turned into a family affair for all of us. My son helped in choosing his favourite Ben 10 picture, my daughter had her hand in selecting the hotwheels and my husband helped me in locating the house in the hours before the break of fast. We wanted to surprise the little guy with a cake before buka puasa. But unfortunately we arrived a tad too late.

It's not the best looking cake you have ever seen folks but in assurance it was the sincerest of cakes I have ever made. And I do so hope they could taste the earnest of thoughts we had put inside amongst the many other ingredients. It was a cake from one family to another.

Thanks Dee for the order.

Durian cheesecake with chocolate fudge cupcakes

A song that I have always loved.
Father And Son - Ronan Keating

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

It's not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them They know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Life O Life

Did you take notice of the weather lately? Well, if you strain your eyes a bit you could actually see me under. Yup, I have been under it for the past couple of days! Still am actually, sneezing and coughing away to the irritation of my kids and students. My eyes are watery, nose itchy, the whole oral area is red and inflamed due to my allergy. I wish I could just curl up in bed under lots of selimut with the air cond on of course. But, both you and I know, the possibility of the idea.

Three days of puasa have passed us by and alhamdulillah all my kids are still going at full speed. They maneuvered well especially at the near corner of the evening. My son screeched of course, but the little guy reached the destination nevertheless. On the first day, my soldiers were sent to pasar ramadhan to get some kuehs since mama was too sick to make any. When they returned, none was smiling, or talking, well not until after the berbuka. Later that evening, my daughter whined about the unfriendly people at Pasar Ramadhan, from the gerai operators to the patrons. She was nudged, pushed, shoved to the side and was almost hit by a car. My other half as usual had lots to say. He complained about the "frown" templates the gerai operators had stamped on their faces. Questions like "are they angry for the many orders? or Do they dislike our buying power or is it because they feel that we are intruding their privacy or is it because they are incapable of being pleasant due to birth hormonal defects? had us searching for answers. My daughter queried, "...isn't this the holy month mama? Aren't we supposed to smile more and be nice more? But the people there seemed to forget all that." Everyone was rushing and forcing themselves in the invisible queue. Sad to say that it became an atmosphere of gluttony above need.

My soldiers came back defeated. They didn't fight hard enough for the tau fu fa, or the murtabak. But they triumphed in virtues of giving in and settling for patience instead. And for that, mama has to cook all of the above herself.*weeps... happily*

Kids drumming every beat of the second away with "Maaaaaa bila nak bukak posa ni????"

Life - desree