Sunday, September 30, 2012

Third Grandchild!

Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah that a third son was born to our daughter-in-law today, the last day of September (due tomorrow actually). I am supposed to go to Adelaide to look after things while the daughter-in-law is in confinement so now I'll be 3 days late. Right now I'm in Meru, arriving from Kuala Terengganu late yesterday afternoon. I'll be flying to Melbourne on the 2nd of October and catching another flight to Adelaide the next day... to say hello and assalamualaikum to our new grandchild! I'll be staying there for about 42 days (will miss the hubby but he and Kak Lang will be joining us for Eidul-adha in about 3 weeks time, insyAllah). It's fortunate that Adik's flight back to Cairo is just 2 days after mine so he'll be seeing me off at the airport instead of the other way round. I still have time to cook beef rendang for him to take back to Cairo tomorrow, insyAllah! God, I've lots of packing to do.. Anyway, here are some pics from Bang Long's and a friend's FB:

Clearly upset at having been thrust into the world a day early..
Calm and serene with mommy
Little Ammar is big brother now..
 So, congratulations Bang Long and Kak Long for the new addition to the family! Will be seeing you guys in 3 days time, insyAllah..

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Trip to Pulau Kapas

We've been living in Kuala Terengganu for over 3 years now and last Saturday was the first time we went to one of the few islands Terengganu is famous for! Tourist come here mainly to enjoy the beautiful beaches especially those surrounding the islands. Well after being pestered by the kids to make the trip, we decided to go to the nearest one which is Pulau Kapas (literally: 'Cotton Island'). We actually started out quite late during the day; nearly noon. The jetty where we took the boat to the island is at Marang which is about 20 minutes from our home. The journey by boat (or ferry as some people call it) was only 10 minutes and we were one of the two families on board (the other was a foreign couple with a baby). Below are pics from the trip:
Adik and Kak Lang (and family from Germany in background)
The captain! (or guy who manned the
Brother and sister posing for the camera
Smiley baby
Ready with life jackets.. Alhamdulillah nobody fell into the water.. (didn't bother with them on way back though!)
Approaching the island
It was a blazingly hot afternoon...yet peaceful
Our lunch and tea
I prefer the shade - spent time reading and napping..
Hubby napping too
Not for these youngsters..time to snorkel
Playing with the fishes
The water was crystal clear..
I didn't capture this or 2 of the above pics.. the hubby did. (I wasn't about to leave the shade and be sun-burnt or get my feet wet..oh no no no!)
Hey, the kids caught a 'Nemo'!
After a few minutes in captivity (in the sandwich container) he was let go (back to his parents...bye bye Nemo!)
Late afternoon..Wow what a view..subhanAllah!
Time to go home (not our boat though)
I did get my feet wet after all because the boat couldn't get near enough to the beach.. *sigh*
I truly appreciate the beauty of the island, the sea and the beaches (MasyAllah..) and understood why tourists flock here. But on the down side, the sights of bikini-clad women traipsing around are just not encouraging to one's iman...(Astaghfirullah..!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday's Activities: Beef Rendang, Open Houses and an Unexpected Encounter

I usually cook chicken rendang - Negeri Sembilan style, the way my late (Allahyarham) mom  used to make. But once in a while I like to try a different kind of I started Googling and decided to cook beef rendang and the recipe I'm using is a simple one; no long list of ingredients.. (lots of recipes for rendang on the internet, I combined and modified..and simplified) Well, the rendang is not an everyday dish actually, mainly because it takes some time to cook (maybe 2 - 3 hours to get the meat really tender and the sauce to dry). It's cooked for special occasions like Eid and weddings. Anyway I cooked rendang yesterday because we were expecting a few guests, since Eid celebrations isn't over yet, people! I decided to document the process so that my daughter wouldn't be texting or calling me to instruct her on how to cook some favourite family recipe. Now I can just tell her, "Look it up in my blog!" Even though this is not a family recipe (yet) but the hubby appears to love this dish already.. 
Well, here are the main ingredients that you need to blend in order to cook a kilogram of beef:
Onions, garlic, fresh tumeric, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and ground dried chillies.
About a kilo of beef cut into cubes and washed.
I used my mini food processor to chop everything up finely or you may use a blender (you would need to add a little bit of water)
Heat up about 3-4 tablespoonful of oil and fry the processed ingredients for about 5 minutes..
Add in the beef
Let the water drawn from the meat evaporates..don't forget to stir now and then (even if you use a non-stick pan)
In the meantime cut some tumeric leaf from your garden..and grab a couple of sliced and dried gelugor fruit
Slice the tumeric leaves like so.. I'd add some sliced kaffir lime leaves too if I have them around (give the rendang that special aroma..)
The water has dried out somewhat.. (don't forget to stir..)
Here's about 500g of thick coconut milk..
..which you now add to the spicy beef in your kuali/wok/pan..
Throw in the gelugor slices and tumeric leaves
Then about 1 tablespoonful of salt or to taste..
About a tablespoonful of brown sugar.
A special ingredient: a tablespoonful of kerisik (coconut flakes which has been toasted and ground finely)
Let the rendang simmer (very low fire ok) for a couple of hours until the sauce thickens and the colour turns brownish..(don't ever forget to stir now and then or you'll have a black inedible dish at the end..)
Well..that's my recipe for today (which I cooked yesterday). I've frozen some (this is an excellent dish for freezing; you can cook a kilo of beef or more, divide into meal-size containers and freeze. To eat, just pop a container into the microwave don't need to wait for special occasions to enjoy a rendang dish) so that the daughter who is in Meru with Adik right now will be able to have a taste when they come to KT in a few days time..
Yesterday after the Friday prayers and the rendang was cooked, we went to an 'open house' of a member of my happy circle, Wan. It was also an occasion to celebrate the birthday of her son, Muaz; here's the cute little birthday boy:

Hey..I'm one year old today..
Had some laksa Penang there..
A sweet (literally..) lovely gift to take home..
Oh no.. I've eaten birthday boy..delish!
It was raining cats and dogs yesterday..but we braved the bad weather..
After that we went to another 'open house' of another member of my happy circle. She had another guest there, who looked at me..and I looked at her and we kept saying: "You look very familiar..where have we met before?" We started to list the places we might have met...and when I mentioned I was in Gombak about 20 years ago and she was teaching at an Islamic school there - Al-Amin...she suddenly said, "Your son is Umar?". She was Bang Long's teacher when he was in standard one! It's incredible that we meet again after all these years! We used to see each other quite a lot back then because a couple of friends and I did some catering for the school. MasyAllah..what a small world!

That's Rohani second from the right..
Late afternoon, the weather cleared up and we were back home and entertained a few guests with the rendang and nasi impit.. As a consequence, I was nearly late for my Tajweed lesson at the IQ (Institut Quran) last night.. and didn't know that they were going to have an Eid feast after class..(I didn't attend last week because I was in Meru). I didn't bring any food but ended up bringing left-over food back home.. Truly, we Malaysian are blessed with too much good food for our own good..

Apart from this spread there were satay, nasi Arab and wonder I didn't sleep well last night..
Help..I really need to start exercising again!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Moving House (again)

We'd been staying in our house in Kuala Ibai for about 2 years and then we had to move again.. Well, before Ramadhan our landlady kindly informed us that she needed to move in back into her house due to some circumstances. She gave us notice so we could start looking for new accommodations. I was quite devastated at first because firstly, we have only about a year or so before leaving Kuala Terengganu (and obviously don't welcome the hassle of moving houses..) and secondly, houses for rent are so difficult to find in KT, especially furnished ones... But, we had to move out; only it being less stressful because the landlady gave us all the time we needed to look for a new place. Well, during Ramadhan the issue became a priority in my prayers, that was for sure! Anyway, I mentioned our dilemma in one of my happy circle meetings and one member promptly said that the house next to hers was empty and needed a tenant and it's furnished (and quite affordable too)! Also it belongs to somebody we know; well, we happen to know her parents very well (they arranged our marriage when we were in the UK many years ago!). And so alhamdulillah (thank you Allah for answering our prayers..) we got the house; moved in last week before we came back to Meru. In fact the house is still in a pretty messy state when we left it 3 days ago.. The place was empty for about 2 months and the first time I stepped into the house a rat streaked in front of me before being chased out by the hubby and Adik! (Kak Lang and I were on the stairs in 2 seconds; God, yes it's a 2-storey house...with rats...aargh!) Tonight we're driving back to Kuala Terengganu - back to cleaning and scrubbing and tidying...*sigh*

Good bye sweet-old-home..
Good bye lovely-river-in-front-of-old-house..
Hello new home!
Well...hello mango-tree-in-backyard-at-new-house!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Eidul Fitr 2012

So many 'happenings' these last few weeks (including a separation period from my beloved laptop) and so busy, busy that I didn't have time to blog. Of course the last few days of Ramadhan were hectic; we were at our home in Meru then, cleaning and tidying the house which was in its usual mess...(we weren't cleaning and tidying for entertaining purposes but simply for comfort in cooking, eating and sleeping!). This is the first time ever I think that we were doing our Eidul Fitr prayers in Meru. Before this it was either in Bukit Mertajam (hubby's hometown) or Rompin and Seremban (when my parents were still alive..) I remember once we did the prayers at the KLIA mosque (due to time mismanagement) as we were on our way to Seremban. And then of course in 2010 we celebrated Eid in Australia.. Anyway this year there were only 5 of us; 3 kids, as the eldest Bang Long and his family celebrated Eid in Adelaide. Bang Ngah came home from Melbourne 3 days before Eid and was here for 10 days.
So on the first day of Eid; after prayers, we went visiting my side of the extended family - southbound to Kampung Tapak, Negeri Sembilan and Segamat, Johor (my aunt's - where we spent the night) and then to Seremban to my sister's and my brother's at Subang Jaya on second day. Third day of Eid: we were in Bukit Mertajam having travelled northbound 400 km or so (and realised we've left my laptop in our home in Meru...) Then on the fourth day of Eid we started our journey back to Kuala Terengganu (and missing my laptop for about a week). And now we're back in Meru for the weekend and...hello lappy (and back to blogging!) Below are some pics of our Eid:

Our simple Eid breakfast - spaghetti bolognese (going Italiano.. ), nasi impit and kuah kacang (compressed rice and peanut sauce) and the rendang ayam (chicken dish which can also be eaten with the nasi impit)
My 'Javanese' neighbours gave these - compressed rice in banana leaves; smells heavenly compared to my 'instant' ones..
My nasi impit and peanut sauce (first time that I made which the hubby gave the thumbs up, yeay!)
Spaghetti Bolognese - Adik's favourite

My rendang  - Negeri Sembilan style only less spicy than my late (Allahyarham) mom used to make
Having breakfast before prayers
Eid prayers; the women's praying section of our Surau
After prayers
Picture-taking session: hubby with 3 kids minus a son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren..(and me snapping the picture)
Taking the long and winding road (isn't that a song or something..?) through Bukit Putus, trying to avoid the jammed alternative road to Kuala Pilah...

...and meeting the jammed road anyway..*sigh*
At my aunt's house in Segamat..
...lots of cousins and their children.
The next day on the way to Seremban, stopped at a durian stall and.. eat durian of course. This is Adik struggling to pry open a section of the durian
And this is he again..I think this time struggling (lol) to eat a piece of the durian.. (he's like Bang Long; not particularly fond of the fruit! At least he could eat some; Bang Long would be visibly distressed just by the smell!)
But the rest of the family love these..yummy!
The boys with my brother (okey, I only took one shot and didn't realise that he had his face covered..too bad bro!).
Part of the extended family at Bukit Mertajam
Adik and his cousins - the three of them were borne in the same year, 1996
Kak Lang and 2 of her cousins, who are sisters.
Adik and grandma..
And here's Bang Long and his family celebrating
Eid in Adelaide
The grandsons with their erm...girlfriends (way to go babes!)