Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the loss of innocence

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin' by
But "happily ever after" fails
And we've been posisoned by these fairy tales

The End of Innocence, Don Henley

it's funny how fragile happiness is. it is not permanent, and this i noticed with the passing of years. 

when i was a young adult i had no cares in this world, and happiness was when i was with my family. raya was the happiest time since everybody came back home, and back them my closes nieces were still unmarried, so we would roam places, talked and just laughed under the big big sky.

but now things are different. my mother had passed on, my nieces are all married and have their own problems, and the only one who remains the same is me. 

may be we've all grown up and moved on. but then again, can we ever achieve that happiness again?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

bubur lambuk

all these years i had been championing terengganu's bubur lambuk, saying that ours is the original version of the bubur lambuk, what with the fish and the ulam kampung added. 

but on the first week of Ramadhan i was given the famous Kampung Baru bubur lambuk twice. and i'm hooked. unlike its east coast counterpart, kampung baru bubur lambuk is made with shreds of beef and dried shrimps, but it still has coconut milk, just like the terengganu version. anyway, i kept dreaming of it for the past few days.

and so yesterday i decided to cook the bubur lambuk myself, since going to any pasar ramadhan is suicidal what with the traffic jam and all...i googled up the recipe, and found a decent one by this  blogger . 

bought the stuff at MaxValu and when i returned home at 6pm, i started cooking straight away, the only things i added  were the fresh shrimps and ground dried ikan bilis, and i omitted the white pepper (since i don't like it). the porridge was done before iftar, alhamdulillah. and when i tasted it, it was perfect!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the day i pancited...

before ramadhan, i was determined to repeat my feat during last year's ramadhan - to continue working out in the gym. unfortunately though, words are easier said than done. i've been coughing since the start of ramadhan, and had to put my gym visits on hold.

until today.

i was so happy to see that there were many available treadmills, and gleefully made my way upstairs. i decided not to jog but to merely walk, which is good enough. i did lower body weight training, which was nothing unusual. at school, i was talking to everyone like i would normally do. and i shouted at the errant students in class, just like i always do.

until 4pm, when lethargy started to kick in. i felt like i was sleepwalking. my speech is low and monotonous, and not at its usual high pitch.  my students looked at me in amusement.

now i feel like it's not a good idea after all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Muslims in Malaysia Eat in Ramadhan

i've noticed that there is a certain food culture during Ramadhan. it didn't occur to me until i was on my way to school and saw a makeshift stall selling canned lychees and longans at Pasar Keramat. so here's my list:

1. Typical drinks for iftar : soya bean milk, cincau rose syrup and sugarcane drink.
packed soya bean milk

sugarcane drink
2. Typical desserts : jellies, taufu fa and santan based kuih

agar-agar berlapis santan

packed taufu fa with molasses or regular syrup
kuih talam
kuih cara manis
kuih seri muka

3. Typical savoury kuihs:

pulut panggang

roti jala

4. Typical canned desserts : lychees in yellow cans
and longans in blue and white cans
longans in heavy syrup

5. Typical main meal from pasar ramadhan : nasi kerabu,
nasi kerabu

roti john


ayam percik

ikan bakar

6. Typical homecooked meal : fried mee hoon, fried rice and spicy broth
fried mee hoon

fried rice

spicy beef ribs soup

7. A must for every iftar : dates


Saturday, August 14, 2010

the joy of giving

in the olden days when i was a little girl (god, i feel so ancient) ramadhan bazaars or pasar ramadhan (or now popularly known as param) never existed. for my late mother who had to feed a lot of children, cooking from scratch and eating at home was a normal occurence. to deviate from this code was a big no-no. and so i grew up with lots of homemade food, and because there was always an excess of food, my mother would send me to the neighbours' houses, bearing tiffin filled with the delicious desserts.
and usually, the neighbours would reciprocate by giving some dishes, and so the tiffin was never empty. this practice went on until the first day of Eid Mubarrak, when everybody cooked delicious but very very fattening meals.

little did i know that this was exactly what Islam wants in every Muslim during Ramadhan - to share and to give.

and since i'm my mother's daughter, i love the idea of cooking, i love eating what i cook, knowing that my food isn't cooked in some second rate oil, i trim off the fat from the meat, i don't use sugar excessively and there're no preservatives in the food i cook.

today, i felt very ambitious, after an absence of serious cooking on the kitchen stove. i made chinese style chicken pau, pecal, my favourite kuih cara and my usual drink, homemade soya bean milk. there's a small problem though.they're not world famously delicious, and i've nothing to rave about them, but what is most important is that i enjoyed making them, and they're fresh and i know what goes into making them.

anyway, i had a lot of kuih cara and thought of sending some to my next door neighbour who are a young couple in their 20s.i packed some into some container and called them. unfortunately they're out but i did tell the hubby to call me so that i could give them the dessert.

during iftar, i realised that my kuih cara was a tad hard because the batter was thick. i had second thoughts then about giving the dessert, because in Islam, you're supposed to give the best to the guest. anyway, just as i was about to start my terawih prayers, the husband called and told me they're back.so i dashed downstairs in my telekung, and was pleasantly surprised when they reciprocated and gave me some sort of a frozen rolled sandwich. and they also extended an invitation for iftar at their house next weekend.

i went back inside the house with a smile. despite the stories that disappointed and devastated us, there is still kindness when you give it a chance.

the joys of sharing and giving.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Holy Ramadhan is here

i don't know why but this year i feel so excited of the prospect of praying terawih for the whole ramadhan. perhaps it's because i've been preparing myself for haj. for me ramadhan is no longer about shopping for foods sold at Ramadhan bazaars, it's about putting oneself nearer to Allah by means of ibadahs. so, i've actually transitioned, haven't i? hopefully this will be a good Ramadhan for me. and to all the muslims out there.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Busy Social Calendar

i havent had a free weekend since 3rd July. every single weekend there's always something on, and it can be tiring when i teach on Monday.

well, let's see... there's the Intensive Haj Course which lasted for 2 days (throughout the weekend). straight after the course, i was busy screaming at the field, because Sports Day was on the next Saturday. i was running around looking for my teeny weeny runners under the hot sun since i was the Housemistress for the afternoon session.

then on the next weekend i had the book review presentation at school (although it was gazetted by the Ministry that DG41 and 44 teachers do not have to do book review presentations) and straight after the presentation i went for my Seri Puteri reunion. it was really really good to see everybody after 20 years. 

and last weekend we had a hi tea buffet at a hotel because our Afternoon Head Assistant teacher is retiring this thursday. it was somewhat a cross between arabic and indian cuisine in an arab inspired restaurant so everyone was bedecked in glitters and abayas and some other creative ensemble. the naan bread was good, but unfortunately i couldn't stay long to enjoy more of it because i had to dash to a potluck at Shidah's house, where some old friends were scheduled to arrive.yesterday, i went to KLCC with another teacher on a mission - to buy our Afternoon Head Assistant a handbag for her retirement. knowing that PC fair was being held there, i told her i couldn't possibly drive there.finally we took the LRT, and you could just imagine the crowd that thronged the station carrying a lot of pc stuff boxes.

i'm hoping for a quiet weekend this week. ah...