July 17, 2014

fashion (non)sense.

I responded "Yes" for an office buka puasa which was held yesterday since about 2 weeks ago after getting the greenlight from my husband. 

So naturally, after getting home from work yesterday, I didn't prepare anything to eat at all. The plan was that we would break fast, pray and leave the house right after. Simple

Some time before we left though, my husband asked me what would be appropriate for him to wear to the function. Masa itu barulah teringat that I needed to prepare Luqman's clothes as well. 

Knowing how much Luqman idolizes his Daddy, I took out their matching baju melayus and while I was doing that, Luqman saw one of his old Upin Ipin t-shirts and insisted that he be allowed to wear it. 

Normally, I don't mind him picking out his own clothes, no matter how mismatched or horrible they are. I've read before that it is one of the ways toddlers express themselves and it is also one of the many ways they'll learn about appropriateness (or lack of) and I'm all for learning through real life lessons. But yesterday wasn't any normal day, so I really wasn't big about him having inappropriate fashion (non)sense just as we were about to attend an office event! 

Be that as it may, after much coaxing to no avail, we allowed him to leave the house clad in his midriff baring t-shirt, diapers and no pants. Yes, I repeat, NO. PANTS. 

(fortunately (for Luqman), no photo either)

In the car, we tried coaxing him again, with no such luck. Outside the car, we taunted and mocked him, but still... no such luck. So, we gave up trying and decided that he had to learn the hard way i.e. through peer pressure from meeting friends of his own age (who we hoped had some decent pants on).

You know what happened?

He sat at the table... dan buat muka seposen. On top of that, he refused the food I fed him and threw everything out the moment it reached his mouth. Knowing that that situation had the potential to develop into a full-blown tantrum, my husband picked him up and told me, "Let's leave", which we did. 

At this point, we hadn't eaten anything substantial or filling, we were hungry and angry and our patience was running low. I noticed that we began snapping at each other although we both knew that whatever it was that took place last night was due to no fault of our own. 

When we got home, we expected Luqman to further throw a tantrum of some sort or you know, like totally zonk out from fatigue or something... just to make sense out of the whole thing... but he just sat happily in front of the TV eating the sunny side up I prepared for him, and asking for more food, crackers and drinks. He even let us both eat dinner in peace (thank God I prepared some food for sahur earlier).  

Til now, his reasons for refusing to wear his baju melayu and not wanting to wear his pants are still very much lost on us. At times like this, I find myself conflicted with all kinds of emotions; between wanting to let the inner mom in me emerge and let my child express himself to his heart's content while also wanting to teach my son that some level of propriety is required in certain situations like last night, for instance.

I honestly don't know at which point in his and my life that I should expect a certain level of understanding of these kind of proprieties.. but if you see our Raya family portrait with one of us (obviously not my husband or I) either not wearing pants or not clad in his traditional baju melayu... you'd know that I (for the time being) have failed to educate my son just yet.

And to think that when I saw this, I thought that I've seen the worst.

fashion (non)sense.

*Sigh*

July 16, 2014

quality time with Luqman.

I can't remember the last time I was on leave (okay tipu, of course I remember sebab lama sangat tak cuti) so I was really looking forward to that long weekend ahead. But instead of fighting over a day off with everybody else for Monday leave, I applied for Friday (11th) instead. For the most part, it was actually upon my husband's request since he had meetings in Melaka and so, to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, it was only logical that I took leave so that we could go back straight to his parents' house after he was done. 

And since we had Luqman, we have never been out to town for our 3 J activities (ye lah balik kampung mesti lah atuk nenek nak main dengan cucu and you all know how clingy I am hehe), so I took that opportunity to spend some quality time with my boy. I knew that my husband initially had reservations about me going to town alone, taking a road I am not familiar with (I never drive myself in Melaka), but I convinced him I had Waze (SUCH A LIFESAVER!!!) and took off the moment I got his blessing (and before he changed his mind). 

 To be honest, I was kind of scared too, but I trusted myself to be extra careful and extra vigilant especially in the presence of my child and so, I followed Waze's directions exactly (kind of) and since it was really early (10 a.m. kind of early), I was spoilt for choice on where I should park my car. Finally decided to park at the open space cark park at Mahkota Parade (smart move, only had to pay RM3 when I left at 2.10 or so) and we started trolling the streets together. 

I thought I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself much with a toddler.... but boy was I wrong!

Although Luqman loves to be cuddled and carried all the time (God bless my arms, he's about 13 kilos!), he behaved really well (despite waking up at like 7) and was very appreciative of this new surroundings that we were in. I even managed to bring him shopping at H&M, where we also got some education about animals (the boys' shorts there are just too cute!) and how to properly place items back where they came from, as the place was practically empty on that day. 

After our shopping trip, I brought him to my next destination (which I had looked up beforehand) - Kiddyland, which is akin to Gymboree or JKids (I think? sorry never been to either).


When we reached Kiddyland... there was only one other "couple", a daddy and his daughter, who also left shortly after we arrived, so Luqman and I were basically like kings of the world! We, yes WE had so, so, so much fun! At one point, not only did I have to sit on the slide... I also went down the slide TOGETHER with him! And while I'm normally (naturally) paranoid about letting him get on a bouncy castle, on that day, I showed him how it was done and he was so excited to see me jumping up and down like a monkey. In retrospect, I'm not sure who had more fun that day, really... Hehehe. And all that for just RM15 (which is entry for about an hour. It's RM6 per 20 mins)


I posted a photo of us and one of my friends asked me whether I wasn't scared of the germs... and frankly? I was CRINGING! Not that it was overly dirty or filthy but just knowing that some other kids have played there and that they might have drooled or nibbled or whatever just made me like... (okay I'll stop now). Just to make myself feel better, Luqman (and I) got a good scrubbing at the washroom after. 

And since Luqman refused breakfast, I knew he was famished, so I brought him to KFC Mahkota Parade (where I got some stares, but it's okay). Managed to feed him 1/2 a piece chicken, about 1/4 bowl of rice and 1/3 glass of milo and then we (well, he at least) was pumped up and ready to troll the malls again.

One of the other things on my agenda was to get Luqman a pair of sandals. He's outgrown his in record breaking time (6 months!) and though he has a pair of shoes, he didn't have any open toe sandals for casual use and playing etc. We searched and searched and finally found Parkson, where we saw Thomas and Friends flip flops. Big mistake because he loves Thomas but there wasn't any in his size plus I wasn't keen on letting him wear flip flops anyways..

But since Luqman has a Mama with "Jimat" and "Don't Give Up" as her middle name... he finally got Thomas and Friends sandals at a bargain. Mama bought him 2; one in a bigger size (just in case) for just RM50 (for both)!!! I don't have it pictured because the boy wanted to wear it immediately (expected) and he can't sit still for even one second (expected also) so I'll post it another time, I guess. 

After that, someone was getting restless and very sleepy and I decided that it was time to head back to my husband's meeting venue. Again, Waze was my lifesaver. 


When we reached the venue... my husband wasn't done yet and I didn't want to bug him, so I switched the aircond off, pulled down the windows and decided to get some shut eye as well... just about 10 minutes into that "arrangement"... Mr. Tak Tahan Panas WOKE UP and demanded that I pick him up from the carseat to sleep with me! Sigh, poor things; my arms. But nonetheless, despite the hot weather (with intermittent showers, thank God!), we both got quite a good sleep.

When he woke up... he obviously didn't appreciate being all idle, but there wasn't much we could do since it was drizzling and my husband hadn't yet finished the meeting by then. So, what does a borderline tech averse mom do to entertain her child? She sings. She sings Thomas and Friends Theme song close to 50 times (I am NOT KIDDING) until her child gets all fed-up and annoyed at her and demands that she sings one of Frozen's songs pula. And sing, she did. 

= ________________________ ="

Not sure what the passers-by thought but it's okay as long as my kid's happy. Hehe.

FINALLY, after we heard azan Asar, my husband texted me (well, I texted him "Hello" first) and he then told me that he was almost done and that I could come pick him up where I dropped him off. If only he knew that we've been there since like 2 hours ago HAHAHAHAHA.

We then went back to my in-laws' place with our boy sitting on my lap, looking absolutely content. 

And that, ladies and gents, was just the beginning of my very, very good weekend. 

July 10, 2014

my go-to recipe(s).

I'm pretty sure those who cook have a go-to recipe, right? Someone's coming for dinner? Or lunch? Or any other time of the day? Have no fear because "go-to" is there to save the day! While some people are comfortable cooking dishes like nasi lemak, ayam goreng and gulai in big batches for big crowds, I haven't had the same luck getting those things right, especially the ayam goreng (even just for my husband). Yes, you heard me right, alright; even after all these years of cooking, no matter what I do, I can't seem to make ayam goreng with utmost perfection.

So, having said that, what is my GO-TO? 

Butter chicken, that's what! 

I actually adapted the recipe from a butter prawn recipe, but since I found it, I think I've made butter chicken more times than I've made butter prawn!

Hehe. 

Well, anyway. Yesterday I planned on cooking chicken for buka puasa. Having a go-to recipe is wonderful but it was only 11 days into Ramadan and we already had butter chicken sometime in the first week, so I definitely couldn't (well, I could, but wouldn't) repeat the same recipe. 

Had to troll the internet for some other chicken recipes when I saw a really simple recipe for garlic-herb roast.

It was perfect (for me!) because it requires so few ingredients (all of which I have), it is super simple to prepare and I didn't need to use the stove (bad luck with ayam goreng, remember?), plus I didn't want to use the stove anyway since I had some laundry hanging to dry outside. And, most importantly, it's different from the roast that we normally have (you know, soy sauce, honey etc., which we just had the day before!).

Wrote the recipe down (walaupun simple, tapi first time buat) and visualised (and hoped) that it would turn out alright. 

Ting ting. Husband messages me at around 5 p.m.,

"Buka apa hari ni ye?"

"Chicken", was my simple reply. Didn't want to get his hopes up too high. Hehe. 

So, how did it turn out?

Wonderful (if I may say so myself)!

Initially planned to save some for sahur as well but none made it past 8 p.m., dalam kata lain... habis semuanya! 

And because it was a good recipe, I'm thinking that this could be my other "go-to" too!

xxx

Now, on to the recipe(s):

Butter chicken:


Ingredients:

1. chicken - I normally use about 3 chicken keels, cut into smaller pieces
2. 3 tablespoons butter - I also save some oil from frying the chicken to mix with the butter
3. 6 birds eyes chillies (cili api) - I use cili kering, in larger quantity to keep the heat down (you may adjust to your liking)
4. 3 sprigs curry leaves - Tip: if you have fresh ones, leave them to dehydrate in the fridge and take them off the stem and store in a bottle. Keep refrigerated. These days, I have a constant supply.
5. 3 cloves garlic - I normally use about 5-6 because I love the taste
6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
7. 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
8. 6 tablespoon grated coconut (dry fry until fragrant) - I use a packet of santan serbuk mixed with 200 ml of water. Alternatively, you can use susu sejat if you don't like the taste of coconut.

Method:

1. Shallow fry chicken and set aside.
2. Melt butter, add chillies, curry leaves, garlic, salt. Fry for about 2 mins or until fragrant. If using santan or susu sejat, put in at this point.
3. Add prawns, sugar, soy sauce. If using grated coconut, add in at this point. Cook over high heat.

And wallah! Siap! Best served with steamed rice and salads of your choice. 

Garlic-herb Roast


Ingredients:

1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
2. 6 garlic cloves
3. 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice - I tried with vinegar yesterday
4. 3 tablespoon fresh thyme - I used dried thyme
5. Coarse salt - I used normal salt 
6. black pepper - about 2 tablespoon also
7. chicken cutlets - I had about 5-6 yesteday, but I think this recipe was meant for 10 cutlets

Method:

1. With pestle and mortar (kalau malas silalah pakai blender), crush the garlic and pepper together. 
2. Put in olive oil, vinegar and thyme.
3. Marinate the chicken for 10-30 mins.
4. Preheat oven at 250 degrees celcius - Tip: when the oven is slightly heated, take your roasting pan and place it in the oven to be preheated too. I do quite alot of roasting and I find that doing this really helps to get a perfect roast. 
5. Take out the preheated roast pan and place chicken on it. Also put in all the access marinade together with the chicken.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 220 degrees and put chicken in - it'll be ready in about 40-60 minutes or so.

And wallah! Siap! In my opinion, this goes really well with breads. We had it with pita yesterday, with salads. Tip: the drippings from the roast can be used as salad dressing and gravy for the chicken. Sedap gila! Alternatively, while waiting for the chicken to cook, you can prepare some salsa. We had left-over salsa with our meal last night :)

xxx

Happy trying, everyone!

Who knows, maybe my go-to will become your go-to, too? ;)


July 09, 2014

society in a grevious state.

"Alot of people make it about religion and race - rarely do people comprehend that to be a good Muslim/Christian/Buddhist/Hindu etc., you have to be a good human being first."
- friend of a friend of a friend on FB.

He kind of like took the words right. out. of. my. mouth.

The postings on social media these days and the comments that ensue (particularly on FB) most of the time make me cringe. It's either a posting about sex toys and aphrodisiacs, businesses that are promoted based on racial sentiments or fruitless discussions about economic sanctions and comments by some "holier-than-thou" commentators who seem delusional and very much confident that they will never be thrown off their high horse. 

Where is the moderation that I grew up with? 

What happened to the peace-loving, non-extremism we were once taught?

Though deep down, I still believe that there are many more of us (the moderate, peace loving, tolerant ones) around than those who are not, who see beyond race and religion because we truly care for this country and this society as a whole, it doesn't stop me from being worried about the direction that this country is heading into.

Where are we heading to anyway and will we head to anywhere that is good for us to begin with?

Or are we a society destined to be doomed by our own fallacies? 

I wonder as much as I worry.

Which also makes me think that no matter how much I love this country, I can no longer fix it by staying. 

Say something, I'm giving up on you.

Because truthfully, I'm just waiting for the straw that's going to break the camel's back.


July 07, 2014

Bubble and Squeak.

Growing up, I used to read this children's book (I can't remember the name), which talked about the concept of bubble and squeak. Basically, bubble and squeak (in that book) is the term used to describe Sunday brunch consisting of leftovers from the week. For some reason, the term and concept remain ingrained in my head until now, that each time I eat leftovers, I'll tell my husband that I'm going "bubble and squeak!"

Like previous years, I have a tendency to cook more during the fasting month. Not only does my husband enjoy home-cooked meals, it also saves me the trouble of having to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare something for him to eat for sahur because I will normally cook more of what I'm cooking for buka puasa for that purpose.

But sometimes... I think I take the definition of "cook more" to another level. Another ridiculous level.

Some time last week, I really wanted to make sambal hijau since I had loads of green chillies. I have always loved sambal hijau but I've never made it before because (1) I'm the only one who eats it; and (2) the cafe next door sells it so it was easily accessible. But since it's fasting month, and I love to cook and I had so many green chillies and it was the first week of Ramadan so I wanted to eat so many things, I looked for the recipe and found out that IT'S SO EASY!!! I had a hard laugh at myself and went back happily, knowing that it was possible to make it at home. 

At about the same time (remember this is the first week of Ramadan, so I always felt like no amount of food would be able to appease my husband's hunger (and well, mine too, I guess)... I also "smartly" defrosted 400g of minced beef to be put into some spaghetti goreng basah that I've been thinking about cooking for so, so, so long. 

I mean, seriously, which idiot does that???

I ended up with SO MUCH sambal hijau and leftover spaghetti because as expected, my husband didn't eat the sambal hijau and how much spaghetti can one person have in one sitting anyways? 

the last of my bubble and squeak.

To make up for the "very smart move", I had bubble and squeak until all the sambal hijau and spaghetti was gone! For the whole week! Husband didn't object to this (I made fresh meals for him every day), of course knowing that I would make a big fuss out of having to throw away food since I'm a stern believer that when you waste whatever rezeki Allah gives, Allah will not give anymore. So, bubble and squeak I did all week long.

 When all that was over... I peeped into my freezer and saw that I only had mutton left. Mutton. I have never cooked mutton my whole life. Although I do cook quite alot at home, I'm not very experimental. Plus, my husband is really easy to please and anything with gravy doesn't really tickle his fancy... so what do I do with the mutton, now?

T_____________________________T,,,,

 After weighing all the options and looking through what I already have in my fridge... I decided on cooking mutton stew. The recipe calls for 4 pounds of mutton leg but I only had 900g mutton shoulder, so I said, why not use them all, after all, mine's mutton shoulder (loads of bones, less meat, hence justified) and I got to cooking my stew, in a kuali.

I do have stockpot, but I like sauteeing in a kuali better. And by the time I mixed everything together...

T______________________________T,,,,

and this was without the stock and gravy!

I had SO MUCH OF IT, WHY OH WHY DO I NEVER LEARN! There's only 3 of us, for crying out loud...

My husband came back from work on Saturday and was so shocked to see what I had cooked! "BANYAKNYA", dia kata!

Luckily though, I tastes good enough, so much so that someone jumped on the "bubble and squeak" bandwagon with me the following day (yesterday)!


And even then... I still have some more left, though not as much as my spaghetti and sambal hijau previously.

xxx

What I'm really trying to say is that this month is the month to remember those who are less fortunate than us and the easiest way to do that is by abstaining from our basic necessities (drink and food) from dawn to dusk just so we know what it feels like to be thirsty and hungry and have no other choice but to be thirsty and hungry.

But when the time comes for breaking of fast, where we do have a choice to appease our hunger and thirst, it doesn't give us the entitlement to gorge and binge and WASTE.

Just so you know - 

"It (Malaysia) generates about 15,000 tonnes of food and kitchen waste daily – enough to fill 7.5 football fields or to feed 7.5 million people a day."
 
 "Of the amount wasted, between 10% and 15% comprised unconsumed and expired food."


So, next time you're in a buffet line, take only what you need and think about the more needy. Next time you're at a Pasar Ramadan, each time you are tempted to buy something that is most likely going to go to waste, set aside the money supposedly spent for that "wastage" and bring it to the tabung masjid instead.

And hopefully, this Ramadan would be better than the last. 

Just my 2 cents. Semoga bermanfaat.


July 04, 2014

give.

Yesterday, I told my mom,

"I'm so tired from thinking and still I cannot solve this problem of mine."

And for the first time in forever, my mom can't solve it either. It's actually a pretty straightforward problem, which we're trying to circumvent, but there seems no way around it, making it complicated.

At the end of the conversation, I told my mom one of my last resort options, which is to "let it go."

And surprisingly, she agreed. 

We both resolved that if after all we've been through, there seems no other way but to move forward (along with all the adverse consequences), then so be it. Who are we to question fate?

Maybe what I had was never mine to begin with?

After all, what we have, not all we own.

xxx

What we have, not all we own. 

Which is why it has been decreed that whatever we have, a portion of it, we must give (away). 

So, give.

But if you won't give, let others give. 

Because unlike you, others know that what they have, not all they own. 

Problems really shouldn't be eliminated by creating another. 

Having said that though, I do really wish I knew both sides of the story.

July 03, 2014

#tamakpahala

HAHAHAHA. I had a good read of my previous posts and a good laugh at my old younger self. So much youth and humour in me back then, it's hard not to be amused. 

Bismillah.

Today is Day 5 of Ramadhan.

I seem to have started Ramadhan on the wrong foot. Somehow I took it to heart when someone mentioned to me how it was okay for work to take precedence over Ramadhan, which I thought was utterly disrespectful for the month. Well, okay, so maybe that person didn't say exactly that, but through the conversation, I picked out those points.

True that work doesn't stop when we fast; in fact we should be more steadfast, but there are limits to it, I am sure? 

Well, anyway, Ramadhan came and embrace it, I did.  

Alhamdulillah, though I wasn't able to join my family for the congregational tarawikh prayers at the mosque, I was still able to do so on my own at home on the first day, when my Boy behaved SO WELL that day and managed to entertain himself for the whole of 10 rakaats. 

I say 10 rakaats because during the final rakaat for Witir, the Boy stood right in front of me on the praying mat and flashed the biggest toothy smile he could, willing me to play with him. I tried so hard not to laugh at the sight and quickly finished off with that last rakaat, where I sensed his relief for finally having some company again. He must have been so bored reading to himself and playing and singing all on his own. 

;)

When I was reading through my old posts, I came across a draft from last year, which seem to have gone unpublished. I read it again and again and contemplated on whether I should post it now... but it seemed so... personal. I decided against it. 

But if there's one thing I learned from that post is that last year, just like the present one, I had some initial troubles connecting with Ramadhan at the earlier stage. But I was lucky I caught myself early enough to snap out of that trance through constant, heartfelt prayer. And I was able to make full use (in sha Allah) of last year's Ramadhan to collect as many good deeds as I could.

This year... I find myself feeling a little left out where kumpul pahala is concerned. Somehow... I seem to be so #tamakpahala this year that I feel like I'm not part of the greater scheme of things due to the things I'm missing out on, like congregational prayers among other things.

While last year I prayed that Allah grant me patience, this year, I pray that Allah to give me (on top of patience), the feeling of contentment for caring for my family and for Him to put trust in my heart that I shall be rewarded justly for all the things I do in lieu of what I want to do, because it may be that I dislike something but it is good for me and He knows, but I know not, right?

I guess it's true when they say that you never know what you've got until you've lost it... because had I known how different it would be after marriage and motherhood, I would have never missed out on being all #tamakpahala when I was single. 

In any case, mintak-mintak Allah terima ibadah saya pada tahun ini dan hapuskan dosa-dosa saya.

Amin.