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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kain Batik Opah

Kain Batik Opah
   "...pilihler yang mana berkenan" Mak was pointing to the a pile of kain batik inside a plastic bag. They were folded immaculately, untouched by time and smelled so familiar. In an instant I knew they belonged to my arwah Opah who just passed away. "...I love the turqoise one." I said, taking hold of it and trying to find if it still had Opah's scent. Mak said "...sorry the turqoise one is mine, mak dah chup dah yang itu." I rolled my eyes and smiled something mak is very used to seeing ever since I was small, a side effect of having irritating brothers! So, I settled for the purple one instead in the end. Mak also took out some of Opah's long kebaya, beautiful, multi-coloured kebaya which all looked lovely on her. Only Opah could wear them perfectly as she had the prettiest skin tone. She was a fair lady and anything looked good on her. 

 My sister and I loved watching Opah getting ready to dress up. She would wear her best during kenduri kahwin and hari raya time. She would sit in front of her wardrobe and each time she opened the door, our eyes would light up upon seeing the treasures that she had kept inside. If we were lucky, she would regale some stories about the trinkets she so lovingly kept. The same old stories were told but never once they bored the little life out of us. We were kids who loved to be told again and again. The stories about Tok whom we never got the chance to know, about the mischief of our uncles and aunties but most of all, my favourite story was the ultimate love they both had for one another. Tok was the love of Opah's life, taken away too soon from her, hence the countless memorabilia of Tok's belongings preserved in that small cupboard. "...ni kain songket CikTan, Opah tempah dulu. Kain songket penuh ni." Opah said proudly as she began her descriptions. "...Yang itu sapa punya?" I reached for the maroon one. "...yang ni mak awak punya ler. Dia pake masa dia berinai dulu. Esok, lusa, nanti awak pulak yang pake. Cuba terai, entah2 dah selok dah." I springed up and put the beautiful maroon kebaya songket on. It fit me nicely and from then on, I remember looking forward to the day I would be clad in the same maroon songket. While I was looking admiringly in the mirror, opah teased me with "...itu dah gate nak kawin le tu!" "...mana ada laaa Opah!" and we both laughed.

Opah was also proud of her kain batik. She kept many of them which were mostly given by her kids, relatives and friends. She arranged them perfectly, nothing was jutting out of place, as if a ruler was used to ensure its neatness. "...cantiknya kain batik Opah...pande nya Opah susun" I was already in my early teens then but kain batik was never my interest. I didn't even know how to tie one on my waist. "...nanti Opah dah takder esok, hangper pake ler. Tapi hangper ni bukannya reti nak ikat kain. Macam mana ler nak kawin nanti, ikat kain pun tak reti!" She grimaced. She then took one out and taught me how to wear it. I complied but only for a few minutes before I ran to the back to join my sister who was in the kitchen munching on something. Where else would my sister be!

And now, after Opah is gone, we are here to share the kain batik she left us so abundantly. Some retained Opah's sweet powdery scent, the same scent that triggered my olfactory when I saw her last."...wanginya Opah ni!" I remember saying that to her all the time when I was small and I also remember saying the same thing in my heart when I kissed her farewell.

Al-Fatihah

Opah in the middle with great grandkids and Makngah during our last reunion organized especially for her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Life Throws You Lemons



...you make Lemon Meringue Pie!

I love lemons and I don't really mind if life throws me a lot of them continuously . They are expensive here and  having them in my kitchen makes me feel rich and regal somehow.

The yellow fruit was going at 40sen each at Carrefour the other day and I bought a plasticful! There is a story behind my love for lemons, yes there's always a story with me.;o). When I was expecting my second child, I needed to have the scent of a lemon close to my nose. If I could not get hold of the real fruit, I would settle for the scented lemon soap. I would have it in my handbag and constantly in my hand when I was in the delivery room. It allowed me to focus and calmed me down nicely. So from then on I was hooked.

I  made this pie twice already this week in anticipation of Zue's visit actually. But she could not make it since I don't drive that far out to her sis' place. Sorry Zue, maybe next time k.

So here's the recipe.

Lemon Meringue Pie

The crust (A recipe inspired by my kemalasan maksima)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt of rock salt
2 tablespoons of cold milk mixed with 1/2 cup of canola oli.

You need to whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the oil and milk and beat till frothy. Then add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients and knead until a ball of dough is formed. It should be soft. Press the dough onto your pie mould. This would spread perfectly onto an 8 inch pie mould. And pop it into your oven 180 degree Celsius until the crust turn light yellowish.

The Lemon Custard. (I tweaked from Yanie's Lemon Bars recipe)

1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
Zest from 1 lemon and Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
Mix all the dry ingredients together then add the the yolks and the zest and mix well. When the pie crust is ready turn the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and  pour the custard onto it and bake till it does not jiggle in the centre. When the custard is baking in the oven, prepare the meringue.
The Meringue

2 of the remaining egg whites
3 Tablespoon castor sugar,
1/2 tablespoon cornflour,
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the egg whites till frothy and put in the castor sugar and the rest of the ingredients and continue beating  till the meringue forms a stiff peak. When the custard is ready just spoon the meringue onto it in any way you like, piped or spooned, and bake with the top heat at 150 Celsius till the meringue is golden brown.

And...

Enjoy enjoy enjoy!
Zue, missed having this with you today!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

About Everything Else

Thanks so much Zurina!

Opah passed  away peacefully on the 26th Of April. She was 89. She was to me wanita melayu terakhir. The epitome of kelembutan, kecantikan luar dan dalam. Her cooking skills were unmatched and I wished I had learnt from her before she got sick. All her granddaughters  felt that way, I believe. But even if we did learn from her and some of us did try, I reckoned none would still come close to the perfection of her traditional cooking. Air tangan Opah, lenggok tangan dia, inimitable. She was a beautiful person. Hope to share stories about her one day.

I found myself writing less and less here as I was busy taking care of myself, something I have been neglecting  to do before this. I had this condition at the back of my head that needed prompt attention. Had to undergo an operation to remove all three of them. I was not able to leave the house as my whole head was  bandaged and to be seen would only invite endless stares. Didn't want to scare the kids. ;o).  I am still recuperating now nicely. The pain still persists and I can only sleep in certain positions for now. Alhamdulillah, I am feeling better and hope there will be no recurrences as this was actually the second operation. Like they say if it does not kill you, it will make you stronger.

Baking still continues on. But at times like this, I do apologize if I decline orders that require too much from me. Exertion is not prescribed by the doctor at the moment, hence the easy orders.

Thank you so much for still dropping by and checking out my page. I appreciate it.

Have a good time entertaining your kids this school break. And kids! be nice to each other k.

Thanks so much Na!