Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winner of the 500K Giveaway

Oh my, I have procrastinated this for so long!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking the time to leave your comments. 27 entries in total! Anyway, trusty Random.org has decided on my behalf. Lucky comment number #16 gets the gorgeous Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss.

Guess what? The lucky lady is Juju, who wrote that she needed a special nudge in the form of a Chanel lipstick to get her writing on her blog again! Well, I sincerely hope she resumes blogging after receiving this, as I miss her writings!

Juju - email me your details please! *smiles*

Monday, July 20, 2015

Selamat Hari Raya 2015!

I am still in Raya mode!

After Teluk Intan, Ipoh, KL and now in Kuantan, we are still doing our Raya rounds, hence the lack of blog updates. So this is just a quick one to wish you and your family a Selamat Hari Raya, and a blessed year ahead! 

Stay safe wherever you are, and hope you're having a good share of lemang and rendang! Take care! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ramadhan Desserts

I am quite the hopeless cook.

I ace at desserts that purely requires baking in an oven. Unfortunately, most of Hubby's favourite desserts for Iftar during Ramadhan usually need some sort of cooking on a stove. For instance, bubur jagung, buah melaka, cucur udang and kek sarang semut. And truth be told, I suck at anything that needs a stove.

However, last Ramadhan, I managed to attempt all four of his favorites. Unexpectedly, each and every one of them tasted quite good, erm except for the bubur jagung, which failed miserably. (Next time remember to include the water within the corn can and dilute the mixture to taste. Poor Hubby, he had to endure a bubur jagung that was so creamy, it must have clogged his artery on the first bite.)

Anyway, I'm sharing recipes for kek sarang semut (also know as kek gula hangus) and cucur udang in this post. Hopefully come next Ramadhan, I can look back at this and give myself a pat on the back for giving it a try!

Kek Sarang Semut (Caramel Honeycomb Cake)

This is not just Hubby's favourite cake, but mine too! My mum used to buy this for me for my after school snacks. I love the chewy texture, the caramalized sugar taste and the unique honeycomb look. Apparently, the chemical reaction from the baking soda produces carbon dioxide, which enlarges bubbles created during mixing of the batter. Hence, to get that honeycomb look, it is prudent to whisk the eggs one by one, and then mix the caramel well into the batter until bubbles are visible. Also, bake the cake in a cold oven to allow the cake batter to warm up, forcing the baking soda to produce gases vigorously, enlarging the bubbles and creating a good rise to the cake before the high heat starts crusting the top of the cake and holding it down.

Sounds complicated? It is really not, because in just one try, the cake turned out beautifully golden and tasty. *drool*

Note: use the same cup for all the ingredients below, for consistency:
1 cup sugar (I used normal coarse kitchen sugar)
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons butter (such a baking sin, but I actually used Planta!)
4 eggs
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method of Preparation:
  1. Caramalize the sugar over low heat in a saucepan until golden brown. Add the hot water to the caramel. Add the butter and stir until all the butter has melted. Leave to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs one by one. Add condensed milk and mix well. Add the sifted flour, baking soda and vanilla essence and mix well. 
  3. Add cooled caramelized syrup into the batter. Mix well! Pour into a well greased bake pan (I used 8x8). The batter will be runny.
  4. Leave the batter in the pan for 3-4 hours. (I am not kidding! The longer you leave it, more bubbles are enlarged, hence more honeycombs for your cake.) 
  5. Bake the cake for one hour (mine only needed 45mins) at 160degC in an oven with only the lower heating element on.
  6. Let cake sit for 5-10 minutes before turning it out. You will be smacking the back of the pan quite a bit to get it out. *giggles*

Look at those holes!

I didn't manage to get any 'tunnels' in the cake. Oh well, holes will do just fine.

Cucur Udang (Prawn Fritters)

Next, cucur udang or rather prawn fritters. Frankly, I got quite frustrated with the cucur udang sold at Pasar Ramadhan. Not enough prawns, soggy and quite frankly, expensive too! So when I came across this recipe on Facebook, courtesy of Nieza Nor Hamnira, I decided to give it a try! Can be eaten with either sweet chili sauce or peanut sauce, I decided to make the former.

3 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder, sifted
1 1/4 teaspooons salt
2 tablespoons granulated chicken stock/Pasti Sedap Knorr
3 cups water
Chives (daun kuchai), cut to 1 inch strips
1 handful of bean sprouts
1 carrot, grated thinly
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 handful of prawns, unpeeled (I cut one large prawn into three pieces)
1 egg
Oil, for deep frying

Method of Preparation: 
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the water and lightly whisked egg. Mix well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Using a ladle that has been dipped in hot oil, carefully drop the batter into the oil. It should float to the surface pretty quickly. Do not overcrowd the pan, you may have to fry the batter in a few batches.
  3. Turn the fritters occasionally using tongs, to get an even golden brown colour on both sides. They should take about 3-4 minutes to cook through. Remove and drain excess oil on kitchen roll. Dish immediately with the sauce.
  4. Sweet chili sauce: Mix some chili sauce, red chili, one garlic, a bit of vinegar and salt to taste. 

You can also opt not to cut the prawns. Hence one huge chunky prawn per cucur! You can also cut the cucur into pieces.

This was definitely a hit at our house!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Aiden's Half Day Fasting Experience

This Ramadhan, Aiden started fasting half day for the first time in his life!

We were quite nervous about how he was going to survive half of the day without food. Honestly, Aiden is quite the big eater. A sturdy 27kg, he survives not on just the mandatory three daily meals, but also with random snacks such cheese toast, hotdogs, roti canai and cereal with milk throughout the day. He constantly walks up to the maid and asks, “Aiden eat ape?” (excuse his Manglish!), which is a sure sign that his tummy is rumbling for some food.

But masyaAllah… imagine our surprise when Aiden himself requested to attempt fasting, albeit only half a day. Of course, the promise of a reward in the form of one ringgit per day probably added to the excitement. But the fact that he was determined to try it out was enough to make this mother a very proud Mummy!

Since Aiden goes to kindergarten in the morning and comes home at noon, we decided that it would be easier for him to fast during the latter half of the day. At least he still gets to enjoy meals with his friends in school, then come home to a nutritious lunch (his version of Sahur) and then be able to rest until it is time to break fast. Also, I would be home by late afternoon to give him the willpower and motivation that he may need to get through the day.

Other than fasting, Aiden has been diligently joining his Daddy at the mosque for terawih.

The first week was certainly not easy for us. Just two hours in, he was already hungry and cranky! But bless him, despite the hunger pangs and mood swings, he was still determined to fast, and any attempts to persuade him to eat or drink would be answered by a firm “No, Aiden puasa!” Occasionally, his friends would come knocking at the door to play football, so by the time he returned home he would be so physically exhausted that he would sprawl on the carpet, counting down the minutes to the call of Maghrib.

To help make it easier for him, I started including a big mug of Horlicks for him to drink as part of his Sahur. My mum used to do the same for me, as I remember having this easy-to-prepare nutritional drink growing up as part of my Sahur too. And she knew exactly how I wanted it – heaps of Horlicks and unstirred, cos I loved scrapping and eating the solidified Horlicks at the bottom of my mug.

The Horlicks legacy. Horlicks now comes in delicious chocolate too!

Since children at Aiden’s age undergo a rapid growth and development process, it is essential for them to have nutritious food to prepare their body and system for the fasting ritual. Well guess what? Horlicks contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals for a daily wholesome nourishment. As it is made from wheat, milk and malted barley, it is a rich source of dietary fibre which delays hunger and helps sustain energy levels. It is also fortified with multivitamins and macronutrients such as Calcium and Vitamin D which also helps them to stay alert and energetic throughout the day.

Aiden having a mug of Horlicks for his mid-day Sahur.

Horlicks recently launched the #SahurDenganHorlicks campaign, which is an initiative that seeks to educate both parents and their children on the importance of starting their day with a nutritious Sahur. Parents are encouraged to share and discuss interesting recipes and introducing innovative tips for mothers to prepare quick and easy treats for their children by supplementing their meal with a cup of Horlicks.

In support of the campaign, Horlicks Malaysia will run a social media contest from 18 June to 16 July 2015. You can share your innovative Sahur recipes by uploading photographs onto their social media platforms by using the hashtag #SahurDenganHorlicks, or you can submit your child’s interesting fasting memories and experiences on their Facebook page. 

This picture represents Aiden's most memorable fasting experience: After 15 days of fasting half day straight, he was so confident that he could finish the remaining days hence he cheekily asked for an advance payment! *chuckles*

Watch 6 year old Ilham’s story about his first attempt at fasting. It may inspire you to share your child’s fasting memories. Who knows, you may win big – as 5 winners with the most captivating entries will walk away with ONE YEAR supply of Horlicks products.

Thank you Horlicks, for being part of Aiden’s first half day fasting experience!


Counting Down The Last Week of Ramadhan

Hello and Ramadhan Kareem everyone!

How are your Hari Raya preparations going? For me, Alhamdulillah things are going quite smoothly because I had purchased the boys' (Hubby included) baju Melayu last year! Yes - you read that right, last year!!! After Syawal ended, I took advantage of the clearance sale at Jakel and managed to get Aaron Aziz baju melayu for all three of them for such a good price. We're going with biru Barisan Nasional this year! (Nothing to do with which particular political party I support. *chuckles*) As for my outfit, kain pun beli last year together with the boys, but I only managed to send it to the tailor a few weeks before Ramadhan. Hopefully my tailor meets her dateline! Honestly, with Eid looming in less than a week, I am getting quite nervous!

"Do I look like Aaron Aziz, or what?"

This year, we're doing away with Crocs and sneakers, and trying out loafers. I found a great online shop which sells cute, comfortable loafers for babies and kids below 6. I am always nervous about buying things online (especially shoes!) so I actually took the time to go to their booth, recently opened in Shah Alam.

Check out IG: MiniByDhea. I was not paid to review this, I genuinely liked the workmanship, and they are so prompt on Whatsapp! Their loafers sold out like goreng pisang panas, so I didn't manage to get that beautiful blue suede loafers in Aiden's size. *sigh*

For me, I am just recycling my old shoes and pairing them with my new handbag. I managed to give all of my bags a good cleaning using the products below. Not only are my bags clean (apart from two dots of oil that had managed to seep in through my LV in patent... damn that sambal) *uurrrggghhh*, but the mousse helped give the patent an extra shine too!

Woly combi cleaner and patent mousse.

As for Raya cookies, we decided that we were going to keep it to a bare minimum. No one ended up eating the cookies last year (except for a few chosen favourites) and even when Eid Adha rolled in, we still had plenty of kuih raya stock! In the end everything went into the bin. So this year, in order to support my sister-in-laws new business venture *chewah*, we only ordered biskut raya from them, such as their best-seller chocolate chip cookies, my favourite kerepek nestum, and Hubby's grandmother's resepi turun temurun for kuih makmur. Last but not least, I also made Hubby's favourite biskut cornflakes.

The A Project's really yummy kuih makmur and chocolate chip cookies.

Other than Raya cookies, I have also stocked up on my favourite Mummy Non's Beef Dendeng and instant nasi impit for any surprise visitors that may come knocking on the door during Syawal. I have been buying their daging dendeng for years... it literally kept me company during my years working in Russia. Since it was so hard to get halal food at camp, I would have rice with some dendeng for lunch and dinner everyday. My colleagues even joked that the packet of dendeng must have turned radioactive by the end of my shift rotation (typically one month), as I kept reheating it for every meal! Radioactive or not, it was certainly comforting to have a taste of home at every meal.

Best dendeng ever, as endorsed by Raja Nadia Sabrina.

As for the house - if last year we painted the living hall, this year there really wasn't much to do anymore. We had just revamped our garden hence that was our only major change. To add some Eid cheer, we bought some pelita and outdoor festive lights to decorate the garden.

Need more pelita!

Festive lights for the willow tree!

Call me vain, but this is also the time of the year when I would pamper myself. My facial, manicure and eyelash perming *no kidding* appointments have all been made. So looking forward to these indulgence sessions!

We've also bought our fair share of bunga api, sparklers and pop pop. This year Hubby managed to find some mercun too *shhhh* so I guess we are very well stocked! As for duit raya, I am blessed to have an RHB Bank at the ground floor of my office building. Sharp at 10am I was already in front of the bank door to tukar duit raya - recycled RM5 notes, unfortunately!

Everyone knows that this is the best month to sedekah and give. So here's the link to calculate your zakat pendapatanHasil penggajian is where you input your per annum pay (before tax, and you will input your KWSP in Section C). Hasil bebas is your pay if you do any part time jobs. Hasil al-Mustaghallat is the profit you make from renting out any property (rental minus monthly bank installments). There is also an alternative way to calculate it, simply take your yearly pay and multiply it with 2.5%. That's your payable zakat pendapatan. Do not forget your zakat fitrah - for 2015 it is RM7 per person.

Due to my PCOS, like the past years, it looks like I mayyyyy be able to puasa penuh again this year (other than that 2 days mild spotting that turned out to be nothing and totally ruined my track record... *hhmmpphh*). Looking forward to spending the last 10 days of Ramadhan concentrating on my prayers and giving it my best shot. And most importantly, avoiding all drama! (An arduous task since I am such the drama queen.)

So how are you counting down your last week of Ramadhan? Good luck with the week ahead!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Berbuko at KL Tower

Remember this post?

Well last Friday we finally managed to fulfill KL Tower's invitation, to attend their Moh Kito Berbuko buffet dinner spread.

The trip from Shah Alam to the heart of KL took over an hour, thanks to a shortcut that never happened. We ended up being stuck for over 20 minutes trying to get out of the Jalan TAR area. When we finally arrived at the tower, we were swiftly greeted with mineral water bottles (in the shape of the KL Tower!) and gentle reminders for us to "berbuka dulu" while we waited for our lift up to the Mega View Banquet Hall. One staff actually offered us his stash of kuih while we were waiting. I immediately declined but he insisted, hence I took a small piece of donut for Aiden to eat while profusely thanking him.

Since we arrived late, I apologize beforehand for the unflattering food pictures. But I promise you, the spread was every bit as good as the promos promised. There was a large variety of dishes and food was constantly replenished. It was definitely authentic kampung food. I even had not one, not two but rather three helpings of Chef Ismail's daging salai masak lemak. It was thatttttt good.

Anyway, enough talk. Here are the pictures from the night:

Love the personalized signed plates!

Let's start with the best three dishes of the night, namely daging salai masak lemak, ikan patin masak tempoyak and asam pedas ikan pari, and then continue with the rest of the spread. *drool*

Look at those chunky pieces of beef!

Hubby's favourite!

I love ikan pari!

Nasi dagang with gulai ikan tongkol.

You can also choose to have nasi ulam with siput sedut.

Love the presentation in traditional kuali.

If the dishes are yellow, they are almost always Nogori food!

The sambal sotong was a tad spicy for Aiden.

However he really enjoyed the ayam kalio.

The lala in oyster sauce was also not spicy. I suspect this and ayam plum (chicken cooked with plum sauce, not in picture) were both made with children in mind.

There were also small stalls outside for dishes such as kuey teow goreng, mee goreng mamak, laksa penang and mee hoon sup utara.

Multiple types of kerabu.

My favourite was the daun pucuk ubi with sambal belacan.

Next up, desserts! You simply have to try the mouth-watering serawa durian and pengat pisang. They are both Chef Ismail's specialty.

Serawa durian with pulut... so creamy with a tinge of durian. Superb!

I can never resist trying out bubur lambuk.

Roti jala with dalca, and murtabak.

Assortments of kuih - unfortunately the kuih sarang semut/gula hangus was finished by the time I eventually got to dessert!

They even had a kawah filled with fresh dodol!

Aiden even had a hand at trying to kacau dodol.

Traditional music accompanied the patrons during their meal.

Dari Rebung ke KL Tower!

Aiden playing with the props on stage.

The Ramadhan buffet even comes with free tickets to the observation deck. As it was Aiden's first time at the deck, he eagerly asked to look through the binoculars. Oh, how I wish KL Tower would provide lower mounted binoculars to cater for kids. Because we had to hunt for a chair for Aiden to stand on, for him to be able to appreciate the view. 

On the left was Aiden on tip toes, trying to peer through the binoculars. We eventually found him a chair.

Smiling at the breathtaking view of Kuala Lumpur.

He claimed that he could see our house! Uhuh, yes Aiden, i'm sureeeee we can see all the way to Shah Alam with those binoculars.

Pretty colourful showcase of all the tallest towers in the world.

A creative picture of KLCC against the colourful showcase.

Thank you for having us, Menara KL!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Iftar with the BBGS Girls

Getting the BBGS gang under one roof is no easy feat. Try coordinating seven families to decide on a date for Iftar... Impossible! In the end, we just picked a date and tried to get everyone to clear their schedules for it. Nak harap semua available memang tak dapat!

Last weekend, 5 of the 7 girls managed to somehow make time and pujuk their husbands to join our yearly potluck Iftar. Yours truly got nominated as host. Aiden was of course over the moon that his friends would be coming over. I on the other hand, was freaking out on how I was going to fit 10 adults and 8 kids at the dining area, eating simultaneously.

In the end, KiddyBounce came to the rescue. I used their kid sized table and chairs to set up a kids eating area in the dry kitchen. As for the dining table, I squeezed in 4 chairs at each side and added additional chairs at each end to make a grand seating total for 10. Ngam ngam just nice!

I borrowed a commercial grade rice cooker from a neighbour to cook 9 cups of rice in one go. Since it was a potluck, I only made ikan terubuk masin masak lemak, sayur campur and telur dadar. Everyone else supplemented these with their own rendition of dishes, and desserts from Param.

Just ten minutes before berbuka, the last of the 5 families arrived. This was such an impromptu photo - in the camera viewfinder I saw 4 girls, and when I turned there were 5!

Food, food, glorious food!

The kids' eating area. Aiden of course sat beside Danya (vacant seat in picture), while Ian and Raziq bonded together, even sharing drinks and all!

Hubby then led Maghrib prayers.

As usual, as soon as prayers were over, the kids kept pleading for the Mummies to bring them out into the garden to play fireworks. We finally agreed for them to start with the sparklers while waiting for their Daddies to help with the rocket type mercun and such.

My two cheeky boys. Check out Ian's intense face, studying how to burn the tip of the sparkler.

Anddddd... as expected, he insisted on trying it for himself! (But instead of burning the tip, he burned the middle of the sparkler instead! *giggles*)

Aiden posing with Danya while Daddy had to hold Ian's hand just in case he decides that the fire sparks were interesting enough to touch!

So much action in our garden!

BBGS at heart!

First attempt to try to get a group picture while playing bunga api.

Unfortunately Ayesha decided to interframe and block Raziq out!

Second attempt!

Oh well, this was the best picture we could get.

Next, we moved on to the rocket mercuns!

Looks like a shooting star, don't you think?

And last but not least, the kids retired into the house to watch the Daddies play mercun at the porch pulak. Look at Ayesha hugging Ian... so cute!

It was so good to meet up with most of the girls. While the men went for prayers, we sat at the dining table, enjoyed dessert and gossiped to no end. And when the men returned, the men joined in the gossip session too! (So unlike the SPK gang where the men would have their own coffee session in the garden.) The most epic comment made that night was the newly coined term "Jantan Dominated and Frustrated". You see, our BBGS school motto is Nisi Dominus Frustra which means "Without God All Is In Vain" in Latin. Hence the term... Geddit? *chuckles*

Gossip session going on!

Part of the BBGS gang.

Can you believe that I have known some of these girls since I was 8? That's 25 years of friendship!

Jantan Dominated and Frustrated anyone? (Ian excluded, of course!)

Thank you for coming girls! I hope we do not wait for next year to get together again. Love you all to bits!
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