Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tired,... Mom?

I have not been adding new entry for the past few days - I was soo... busy, well, 'tortured' to cook & bake - by my family members plus I wanted to finish reading 3 books which I borrowed from the Library last Saturday.

One of our (my husband & I) passions is food. I remember those days when I'm still working - we will be eating out most weekends satisfying our palatable desires. But, those were the days - And since I'm a full time Mom now, that passion instead of eating out becomes an eating in with me being the Chief Cook and of course, an Amah later (to clean out and makes things proper again).

Some time ago, my husband told me that he entertained his clients at Bangsar Village Seafood and he said he enjoyed the butter crab very much. So, a fortnight ago, on our way to visit my Mom, we dropped by and bought 2 kilos of the butter crabs. And, mmm... it's heavenly.

So, last Sunday, we tried cooking it at home & we managed to somehow created something similar though we still have to get our recipe perfected. Since it is based on trial & error, I couldn't come out with the right amount of ingredient yet. But, if you guys (and gals) want to try it - here goes the ingredients - crabs, butter (quite a lot), coconut milk (not so much), chinese cabbage, lots of curry leaves, a little tumeric powder and of course, salt. Method : Melt a little butter in the pot - put in the curry leaves and stir until fragrant. Then pour in the coconut milk & butter. Once it's nicely blended, put in a little tumeric powder. When it comes to a boil, put in the crab, later the chinese cabbage. Put salt to taste. Sorry - we're to eager to eat it so,... no photo.(The shot attached is just for 'decoration' purpose. Hehehe! To 'accompany' the butter crab, we prepared daging merah, some kerang rebus and spinach. For dinner that night we add egg salad.

On Monday, our lunch is quite easy - just sambal mackerel and fish head soup. Just as I thought I can continue my reading, I my children asked whether I can whip up a cake for them. Well, I wish I can say No but looking at their pleading eyes and that they always help with baking, I just can't. So, there I was, whipping a chocolate cake - I just followed the recipe written on the cooking chocolate cover - it's called Sacher Torte. And the good news is they finished it yesterday (Tuesday) and asked for another.

And since we have run out of cooking chocolate, I sacrificed my bananas to bake banana cake for them. I baked a big one in the hope that it will last longer.

I hope they will let me free today - coz whatever it is, I want to quietly enjoy watching CSI to night!!!And of course my books before I get to sleep!

Sources of images : "Cooking" from; Crab from; Sacher Torte from

Friday, April 24, 2009

Of Fruits & Berries

We have run out of fruits. And tomorrow will be Saturday. Tomorrow will be going-to-the-market day and the next grocery-shopping day. Hmmm... I was wondering if I can buy some pomegranates or figs?

Or perhaps some cherries?

Or raspberries?


But budget-wise, I can only purchase

Either guava, or



(Source of images : Pomegranate from; figs from; cherries from; raspberries from; strawberries from; guava from; papaya from

In Search of the Holy Grain?

Wednesday night, while flipping the channels after watching CSI (Grissom was following his heart this time - he left the CSI Team to join his beloved Sarah, but I'm sure gonna miss them both after all these while), I "stumbled" upon a documentary entitled "Seed Hunter". Since I didn't catch it from the beginning, any of you who do, please correct me if I'm wrong with my narration, OK? Thanks (:-D)

Seed Hunter is about a remarkable journey of an Australian Scientist, Dr Ken Street in search of seeds that can stand the extreme weather changes to improve crops resilience as part of the solution to the global food crisis (the effect of global warming).

His journey (Dr. Ken was dubbed as the Indiana Jones of Agriculture) took him from farm to farm in Syria to one of the toughest landscapes in the wild mountains of Tajikistan. With limited time & money, he was accompanied by a group of so-called "gene detectives". What they were looking for is the seeds from the wild chickpea reputed to survive temperatures above 40 degrees and well below zero degree. Amazing?

The wild chickpea itself cannot be eaten but what they were looking for is the genes/DNA of resiliency that comes with the specie, to be re-engineered and re-developed to have tougher crops which can brave through climate changes.

At the end of the documentary, it shows Dr Ken depositing his seeds in the seed bank dubbed as "doomsday vault" located somewhere in the Arctic.

Well, there are a few things I like about the documentary :

(i) how it captures the determination of one Scientist with little budget on a wild chase for a seed which he believes that can help solving the world's problem; it is a wild chase because none of them in his team really know how the wild chick pea looks like but they persevere

(ii) the warmth of the people that he met along the way - their willingness to assist, giving him information - though sometimes their eagerness ended in confusions and wrong destinations) but still

(iii) the simplicity of the way Dr Ken and his team work. Simply taking samples of seeds and putting them in envelopes - writing their journals in notebooks (yes, the old fashion way) - with no modern/hi-tech gadget (guess it is because they cannot afford to "travel heavy" as they are going to tough terrains).

(iv) 6 months after his journey, Dr Ken came back to visit his farmer friend in Syria handing him the re-engineered seeds for him to grow in his farm. Isn't that a nice thing to do?

How I wish there are sequel to this.

(Sources of images : Dr Ken Street from; Syrian farm from; Tajikistan mountains from and wild chickpea seeds from

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ooh La La!

Just now, my children asked me what I'll make or bake for tea today. well, up until now I haven't actually decided on anything. But let me see. Mmmm....

Could it possibly be Chocolate Cake?

Or this mouth-watering strawberry cake?

Or perhaps a charming coconut cake?

Or just simple scones?
Anyway, at the moment I do not have the ingredients for all those. Guess they'll have to make do with... hehehe.. among my favourite kuih... What else if not ...

Yezzzaa! TALAM (:-D

(Sources of images : Chocolate Cake from; Strawberry Cake from; Coconut Cake from; Scones from & Kuih Talam from

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For Your Own Sake, .. Read!

"Iqra'" the first word which was received by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) from Jibrail (Gabriel?) which every Muslim in this whole wide world knows the meaning of - Read!
And let me just share the translation of the 5 Ayats from Al-Alaq :

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

"Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists) man from a clot (a piece of coagulated blood). Read! For your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught the use of the pen, Who has taught man what he knows not."

So, the first thing that is taught in Islam is to read - and a little further elaboration - learn, be thirsty of knowledge or was it hungry for knowledge? Whatever, it means learn as many as possible for knowledge is very vast. I believe, every other religion encourages its followers to gain knowledge and one of the many ways into knowledge is non other, than through readings.

And why do I sound a little emotional? Well, it is sad for me to learn that in our beautiful, developing country the reading interest of our fellow countrymen is not as high. Though our literacy rate is reaching 88.7% (as stated in The World Fackbook from - the study is quite recent though the exact date was not stated in the page), that does not reflect any momentum in our reading habits. Enough said.

I mentioned once in one of my entries that my parents encouraged us to read at a very young age. Though they are not in excess of cash nor cash comes easily to them, they make sure that our house is never lack of reading materials. And they read, too. And, it may sound like "torture' but other than just reading books, they also encouraged us to read, yes, read dictionary, encyclopaedia not forgetting going through the Atlas as well. But, thanks to them, until today our thirst for knowledge never cease to exist - and it varies too. I can be interested in cooking at the same time anatomy. And I guessed that's part of the reason why I took Biology as one of my subjects while pursuing my Degree in Bus. Admin.

But, my parents make reading interesting - my Dad especially will supply us (I'm not sure about my brothers & sister but at least this is true in my case) with some candy or raisins to accompany us while reading. And where are they when we are stuck in front of the books? They are beside us, reading as well.

Such, I know for a fact that the best way to arouse our children's interest in reading is to read as well. To give them that first hand example - but of course, you have to be selective in your reading materials. For my children, other than the normal reading session (we are doing it at home) and fortnightly library session, one afternoon is to go through one country in the Atlas and another to find one word in the Dictionary, understand the meaning and using it at the right time. And, like us, my children have books piled at their sides of the bed as well.

Oh yes, BTW, I read somewhere that being parents give you the excuse to catch up on children's books. I don't know about the others but, I sure am taking advantage - Let me share with you a secret - I'm on the last chapter of "8 O'Clock Tales" by Enid Blyton and looking forward to finish "The Mystery of Banshee Tower" also by the same Author! Hehehe....
The home library here? Ours is quite similar - the understairs kind of mini library - how I wish it could be expanded. My current read other than the above 2? "Collected Short Stories Volume 2 by W. Somerset Maugham" and well, don't laugh, "Engineering Economic Analysis" by Newman, Eschenbach & Lavelle :-D

Humor aside, I do wish something can be done to increase the reading interest of our fellow countrymen (and women). Though some steps have been taken by some authorities like organising Reading Campaigns, International Book Fair, Competitions, Workshops (writing workshops), I hope as an individual I can do more to ensure that this effort is continuing. Let me think of something. Maybe through my blog, I can do something that can create interest so that more & more Malaysians can include reading as part of the way of life - oh yes..!

(Sources of images : Al-Quran from; sad flower from; books tower from; peppermints from; sunmaid raisins from and understairs home library from

Monday, April 20, 2009

Am I Going Insane?

Leaving our children behind, both my husband and I went to our beloved Pasaraya Bintang last night. It's our weekly routine where we purchase our weekly supply of groceries. Armed with a list, we went from shelf to shelf at times together, at another separately so that we can finish quickly as we do not like to leave our children for long.

Once we have made our purchase, we walked straight to the car and I helped my husband transferred the goods from the shopping cart to the boot. Finished, I pushed the cart back to its place and then got into the car.

Almost half-way of our journey back we heard something fell off our roof. "What's that?" I asked my husband. "I don't know." he said. Suddenly, something came into my mind. Goodness me! Slightly embarrassed I asked him, "Did you take the eggs from the roof just now?" "What?" he asked me. "Well, I put the eggs on the roof. All the others are quite heavy, so, I don't want the eggs to be crushed. So, I thought I put it on the roof first. Then when everything else have been transfered, I'm going to bring them in with me." I tried to explain myself. "Then?" he asked. " Well, I took the trolley back and I totally forgotten about the eggs." My husband just look at me and started laughing "Things you do...!"he said in between his laughter. "It's not funny being forgetful!" I tried to defend myself. "Now I know why that few months away, do you remember? When we saw a pair of school shoes on the roof of a car?" he said. Oh yes! I do remember. Though it was a funny sight but now I can share the feelings of that lady. It's two of us, now!

When we reached home, of course he told our children all about it!

(Sources of images - white cistus from; eggs from

My Husband's Love Affair....

This has been going on for years. Many many years even before we met. He mentioned it to me and at that moment I just could not be bothered. Could it really?..... Well, seems like nothing can be done to prevent him from seeing his beloved. Sort of a first love kind of thing. And though we have 4 children now, none of us can stop him. Year after year he will still make his "pilgrimage" to visit his other love. At first, it has been quite bitter for me to accept - being left behind, but, as time passed, I started to understand. Well, guess they say, pictures speak volume. Hopefully these speak to you. Step... by step... till the end...

Got it! Got it!


Layan... layan


Hmmph! There you are... Come to me my beloved

All Smile

Tasik Kenyir

Well, when I looked back at all my postings, I realised that of late I have been sharing shots from my travels overseas. Hmmm.... before anyone accuse me of being unpatriotic (:-D), let me share with you shots of Tasik Kenyir - these were taken some years back - I kind of "stole" them from my husband's collection. Hehehe.. I'm actually in the midst of looking for shots which we took on padi fields, the kampungs, the sungais, etc of our Beautiful Malaysia. Once I sort them out, I'll share them with you. But, in the meantime, enjoy these views of Tasik Kenyir.

And as usual in most of my entries, let us learn a few facts on Tasik Kenyir - mostly of the facts are what I gathered from a few sites most from

Tasik Kenyir is so called from Sungai Kenyir. It is reputed to be the biggest man-made lake in Southeast Asia. At the mention of Tasik Kenyir majority will be reminded of Hydro Project which took the span of 15 years to complete. However, to do justice to it, it is more than just a hydro dam. This water catchment area covers an area 0f 38000 hectares with beautiful tropical forests - home to more than 8000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, 8000 species of orchids, 370 species of birds and 300 species of fresh water fish.

There are a lot of activities that can be done here among others - fishing, camping, trekking, kayaking, golfing and for the more adventurous - caving.

For those who can't resist any piece of history, it is also believed that this area is a centre of civilization in the Neolithic era. Some artifact had been uncovered by a group of archeologists in 1956 and 1970’s including kitchen utensil, axes and tools dating back that era. It is believed this place was once a business centre.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Memories from the Countryside....

In my travels domestically or otherwise, though I visited the cities, it is always the countryside which captured my heart - the padi fields, the rivers, the fountains, the forest also the crisp air, the beauty and serenity of the farms, the hills, miles after miles of beautiful flowers and of course the kindness and warnth of the people - almost everything about the countryside managed to warm my heart. And in this entry, I'm attaching some snapshots of the countryside. These shots are taken in our journey following A68 from Yorkshire to Leith and also from edinburgh to Fort William. Maybe the quality of my shots are not that good but, hopefully you are still able to enjoy them.

This place is actually located in between Risdale and The Carter Bar. Note : The Carter Bar is the point where A68 crosses the English-Scottish border. It is just outside someone's farm, really. I can't remember exactly why we made the stop, but it is truly awesome!

Bluebell, anyone?

I'm not really sure what this is actually - someone told me it is really a rail line. Not sure though.

This is another shot on the bridge? rail line? Maybe some of my blogger friends can tell me what this is? I saw similar structure in Gattonside (some 2 miles away) as well.

And this is the famous view of Eildon Hills. It was said to be one of Sir Walter Scott’s favourite views of the Borderland (though I'm not sure from which angle it is his favourite). According to www.discoverthe, "the Eildon Hills, the remains of volcanic activity, have been occupied in the past by Iron Age peoples and Romans, as it is an excellent lookout point".

Similar scenary can be seen along the way from Edindurgh to Fort William.

And this is the view from Stirling Castle (or is it Edinburgh Castle?). Hmmm.. I sure can't count on my memories nowadays. Perhaps, well, just perhaps... my Diary is to be blamed! (;-D)

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!!!