Monday, June 30, 2008

Spaghetti Bolognese


This is my son Salman's favourite dish. I will try and make this recipe at least once a week. The spaghetti sauce can be eaten with pasta and the leftover gravy can be used in many ways. Put a few slices of bread on a baking tray, spread the sauce over the bread and top it with cheese and bake for a quick snack/breakfast. Otherwise, get ready made lebanese bread or pita bread. Spread the sauce add sliced capsicum, pineapple, mushrooms and grated cheese and bake for a speedy pizza your kids will love. ( lebanese bread gives a crunch base and pitta bread gives a softer chewy base )Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

500gm minced chicken meat
4 large onions chopped fine
4 large tomatoes chopped fine
2 tbsp chilli/paprika powder
1tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tin tomato soup ( not puree)
2 tins of water
1 Packet Maggi Bolognese Mix (opt)
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
a pinch of oregano/italian seasoning
salt, olive/canola oil

Spaghetti pasta 1 packet

Method

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, pour some oil and saute chopped onion till golden brown. 2. Now add chicken which has been mixed with ginger paste and chilli powder. Stir and cook the meat until it is browned.
3. Put in the chopped tomatoes and the Maggi seasoning.Mix well on slow fire.
4. Pour the tomato soup with all the water. Mix well. Let it come to a boil. Now simmer for 30 minutes. Season well with salt and oregano. Just before turning off the fire, put the cheese.
5. Cook the pasta according to the packet instruction. Put some pasta on the plate and pour the gravy on top. Enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chillin Out


Last Sunday we decided to eat out. I think my family and I are probably the only ones who had not eaten in Chili's. Not that we don't want to but because of personal choice. But anyway after listening to all those "Have you tried their Chicken Tacos..?" or " Wow you must try the Chicken Fajitas..mmm..mmm", I finally bowed down to pressure and decided to give Chili's a try. In Penang there's only one outlet and that is in Gurney Plaza which is 30 minutes drive from my house. When we reached Chili's, we were told that it will take least half an hour before we can be seated. My kids who are quite adventurous when it comes to food did not mind the long drive and the longer wait. After about 35 minutes, we were taken to our seats. My son ordered Fajitas Quesadillas, my eldest daughter wanted Chicken Tacos and my hubby ordered Chicken crispers. My youngest who is nine years old ate for free. Hers was Kids Hot dogs with fries. Me... I ordered nothing. I was told that the portions are big, and the food looked too rich that I decided to share with my daughter. (You can say I'm the picky one of the lot.)For drinks we all had fruit juices. The food came after awhile and I was amazed at the portion. It was quite big. Then we started to eat. I honestly can say that we have eaten better food. What a let down!! The chicken taco was tasteless. The chicken filling was bland and the vegetable salad was not so fresh. Next the chicken crispers. The chicken was oozing with oil and the fries that came with it looked burned. My son's Fajitas Quesadillas was the only one that tasted okay. But the black bean rice that came with was uggh!! Finally the free kids meal. The sausage was hard and the bun was dry !! I don't know what is the hooohaa about this place. I don't think its only me who thinks the food was not good. My whole family felt dissapointed. Thank God I did not order anything. First time in history nobody wanted to eat the fries. Usually the french fries will be the first to finish but here, we just left them on the plate. Anyway this is my experience. If any of you want to eat here I have no comments. Maybe Chili's might want to change their recipe and hire people who don't burn the fries. Happy eating...

Healthier Choice


Normally on Fridays I will cook extra special. You can say it’s a kind of tradition in my family. You see my mother will show off her culinary skills on Friday. Maybe because we kids used to be back earlier from school, or because as Muslims we consider Fridays as a special day. If you go to any of my three sister’s house on Fridays, wherever we maybe, our menu might be the same. There’s always Nasi Minyak, Dacha Ayam, Fried Chicken, Brinjal Pajedi and Tomato Pajedi.

But due to health concerns and more awareness, I have opted to cook white rice or sometimes nasi ayam on Fridays. This week though I decided to cook Nasi Bryani Ayam with Chicken Masak Merah and Mixed Vegetable fry. My eldest daughter will be going to college next week in Kuala Lumpur, so I thought cooking her favaorite dish would be nice. This bryani recipe is quite mild and is not the usual type which is more rich and greasy. So if you are health conscious and occasionally crave for bryani, this recipe could be ideal for you. For those who do not want to hold back, then replace oil with Ghee/butter, evaporated milk with coconut milk and add some cashew paste for the extra richness.

Chicken Bryani

Ingredients;
( A )
Six red onions chopped
Cinnamon 4cm,
Cloves and cardomons
2-3 pandan leaves
Some chopped mint and coriander leaves
3tbsp ghee/butter or 3tbsp canola oil

(B) Marinate
3 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
5 pieces of chicken
3 tbsp Faiza Bryani Masala
3 tbsp yogurt ( lowfat )
juice of 1 lime

(C)
2cups of homemade chicken stock
½ cup of evaporated milk mix with
31/2 cups of hot water
4 cups of Gred A Basmathi Rice

(D)
Fried/roasted raisins,cashews and almonds


Method

Fry the ingredients (A) in oil till fragrant. Put ingredients one at a time to get best aroma. Then add the marinated chicken (B) and fry till the oil separates from the spices. Now add all the liquid from (C) and put some salt to taste. Bring this to a boil then slow down the fire and add the cleaned rice. Stir using a fork so as to not break the rice grains. Transfer this to rice cooker and cook till its done. Now open the rice cooker and stir once more to dry up any remaining liquid. Turn off the the cooker otherwise the rice will become too soft. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with roasted cashews, almonds and raisins. You can serve this rice with Chicken Dalcha or Ayam Masak Merah.



Note:
I usually make my chicken stock and keep it in a few Tupperwares and freeze it. Then whenever I need to use chicken stock its readily available. Here’s a recipe for chicken stock.

Chicken Stock

In a pot , put the bones of 1 whole chicken. To this add bruised ginger pieces and 6 cloves of garlic. Also put in one whole onion, 2cm of cinnamon and some salt. Add about 2litres of water. Boil the stock for at least 2 hours on slow fire. Add more water if necessary . Then turn of the fire and let it stand for at least 1 hour before straining the stock. Discard everything else. Now pour the clear stock in several containers. Coolthem completely before freezing them. You can use this stock to make chicken rice, base for chicken soup, noodles in soup etc.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A day out of Focus!!

Today the water from the main pipe into my house will be turned off. Why? Because the plumber still could not find where the leak is coming from. So to make sure, he said, that it is from my house we have to turn off the water. Otherwise it could be from my neighbour’s house. So last night we bought 4 extra pails and a 30 gallon drum to fill water. One day with no water itself is terrible, imagine 3 days without water! Sigh!! Anyway exactly at 9.15 am today I turned off the water. Hmmm… that was easy, I thought. By 10:15am, there was no problems. I could catch up on chores that I have put off. I could call my sister and hang on the phone for awhile. And I could even give Sofi some mathematics to work on. At 12 noon, I walked over to the restaurant opposite my house to get Sofi lunch before sending her off to school. This is very easy... Now where shall I and Shak my eldest can have lunch. I took the car out and drove straight to a Mamak restaurant. We both ordered fried Beehoon ( no need to count calories today…heeheeeheee) and iced tea. I was still in the mood of self indulgence when suddenly there was a loud angry voice near me. A man was shouting and scolding the waiter for leaning against the table. How absurd, I hope he does not sit near us, I said to Shak. I think I spoke too soon. The man sat directly next to my table. Then turned his chair and faced exactly to me. I don’t know why but many times in my life even as a teenager I have come across this kind of people. I call them Mentally Out Of Focus (MOF). And I have told all my kids how I have been chased by one MOF when I was 15 years old. I ran for my life carrying my heavy school bag. Thank God I was near my father’s shop. I ran straight inside and hid from this MOF. Even today I still shudder when I think about it. Back to now, this MOF person was trying very hard to get my attention, that’s what they usually do. I on the other hand tried to signal to Shak to ignore him and to my dismay Shak was laughing or maybe controlling her laughter with a look saying she knows this is one of the MOF’s I usually talk about. I bend down low trying to ignore him. The MOF person trying his best to irritate me crossed his leg, then switched then crossed. Then to my horror he took out a lighter and started to burn the bottom of his trousers. By then I was shivering from the inside but sweating profusely from the outside. My day which started in a slow pace turned upside down. I was literally stuffing the Beehoon into my mouth. The Fried Mee that I ordered for my son MS soon came. Trying my best to sound calm, I asked Shak what the time was. Suddenly I heard the MOF person calling out….!! “ Sister..,sister…SISTER…..!!!!! What is the time ahh??
I shot out of my chair and literally ran to the cashier with Shak following me behind. I lingered and pretended to look for my wallet at the cashier. From the corner of my eyes I can still see the MOF person staring at me. Now I looked at my food bill as though it was the most important piece of paper in my life. To my relieve the MOF person got up and left the restaurant.. Sigh..!! I went straight into my car and drove back home. What a day I thought . And I still have another two days with no water. Maybe I’ll have Maggi tomorrow…....at home !!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

National Robotic Competition


My son, MS, will be taking part in the National Robotic Competition which will be held on 25th June 2008 in Kepala Batas. I have always known his passion for building or dismantling stuffs ( which was more often ), especially electronics since he was small. When he was a toddler, the first thing I remember him dismantling was the video tapes. Then he moved on to his remote control cars. When we buy him a new toy, MS is more interested in the inside of the toy then the outside. Most of his toys will not last even a few weeks, because after playing for a few, he will soon be bored and start to open up the screws. Even when he did not know how to use screw drivers, MS used his tiny fingers to turn , pull,and open up the screws. Then when he was 7, his father bought him a toy tool box. He was so excited with the various tools that he started to unscrew tables, chairs and anything he gets his hands on. To take his mind off we use to give him different kinds of toys, matchbox car, construction set ( that occupied him awhile ) but to no avail. But finally he did grow out off this interest but to a new one "PlayStation and computer Games."

I personally prefer his old interest but as I always say, as mothers we must always check on our kids but not restrict them unless their interest go out of control. Now back to present, MS had been so busy this past two months building his new robot. His dedication to his work showed off when he brought the robot home to do some minor adjustments. Tomorrow will be his big Day and I wish him all sucess...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What price to pay to excel in studies!


Two very important things happened in my house today. One was, open day in my youngest daughter Sofi's school. Her father went to collect her report book. I didn't go because I had some chore at home. Sofi is a bright student.But she did not do too well in two subjects. That gave her number 12 in her class. She was quite upset and vowed to do better in her next exam. I on the other hand was not too worried. She is only in Year 3. What is important right now is for her to be able to follow what's taught in school and be responsible of all homework and assignments given to her by her teacher. On that aspect, I will give her 100%. Sofi, praise be to Allah, had never not done her school work before going to school. Parents nowadays put so much pressure on their kids to perform extremely well. I mean produce a 100% results in all subjects. This causes a lot of stress to these young children. Most of the primary school kids have no time to play, or explore their little world.

The second thing I mentioned earlier was a function my family and I attended. It was for form five students who received High Achiever Award from our Second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohd Yackop which my eldest daughter Shakira received. As a mother I feel proud, happy, awed and blessed to have a child who excelled in her studies thus bringing good name and setting a good example for her brother and sister. Many of my friends and relatives had asked what was my secret. My answer is simple "A solid family , good foundations and instilling moral values." A child should be brought up in a happy, nurturing and educational environment. You see, when my family and I are travelling in a car, we always have conversation with our kids. We usually ask them many general Knowledge or even scientific questions. They normally see it as a game. When any one of them answers, the other kids will be listening, thus expanding their General Knowledge. Sometimes we play I Spy, and this actually enriches their vocab especially my younger kids. See, education is a process. You don't just have to read books and go to library to be clever. Of course, studying school books, is undeniably the most important thing to do for a student. But after that, we must look at the whole world as our school. When I saw those kids who received the High Achiever Award, I was amazed to see how different they all were. I saw, some who looked so studious, with no smile and almost a blank look on the face. I also saw cheerful, happy and light hearted kids. I definitely want my children to be in the latter group. It is a pity,to see these kids who apart from their excellent academic, they actually don't know much about life. Most of them InsyaAllah, will be successful, but they will never get back their teenage life that they lost. There is a saying " Extract the Honey, But Do Not Break The Hive." Let us bring out the best in our children without stressing them.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chicken Kurma Curry


This is simple but delicious curry which is milder in taste than the usual Chicken Curry. Chicken Kurma is mainly a south indian dishbut in here I have added Malaysian flovour to it. Do try this recepi which can be eaten with white rice, any type of breads, Chapatis, Dosa/Thosai or even on cooked noodles.

Ingredients
(A)
1 chicken cut into small pieces
2large onions diced
2 large tomatoes diced
3 baby potatoes/2 large potatoes halved
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of evaporated milk/coconut milk
1/2 cups ground cashew nut
1/2 cups of low fat yogurt


(B) (grind to a paste than mix with the chicken to marinate)
5 cm ginger
1 pod of garlic
5 tbsp of chicken Kurma powder

(C)
2 cm cinnamon
2 cloves
3 cardomoms
some fresh mint leaves chopped
some fresh coriander leaves chopped
3 pandan leaves knotted

oil
salt

Method
1. Put some oil in a heavy bottomed pot and fry the onios till golden
2. Add (c) to this and fry till there is a nice aroma
3. Add tomatoes and fry for a short while
4. Now add (B). Mix the chicken well with all the spices. Let it cook for awhile, add alittle water if necessary. Wait until the oil separates.
5. Now pour the evaporated milk and add the cashew paste and yogurt. Mix well.
6. Finally add enough water, add salt to taste and bring the curry to a boil. Now put the fire on low and let the curry simmer for 40min.
7. Your curry should be ready now garnish with some mint leaves and Enjoy!!

Note:
For those who do not have Kurma powder,
here's a simple recipe to make your own. This is one portion please increase the portion if you need more.

3tbsp coriander powder
1tsp aniseed powder
1tsp white pepper
i/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Thursday, June 19, 2008

WHAT A MORNING!!!

Everything that can go wrong went wrong this morning. I got up later than usual because firstly the plumber who came yesterday had stopped the water into the tank, thus I can't wash clothes today. Next, since every thursdays I cook something light, I did not have to rush to prepare lunch for my afternoon school kid. But this had proved to be the cause of my disastrous morning. I went to the kitchen to put water to boil and guess what? The gas had finished.So I put some water to boil in the thermopot. Then I put the leftover chicken curry into the microwave. My eldest came down to help out which again proved wrong. She dropped the whole bowl of hot chicken curry onto the table, under the table and around the table!!!Luckily no one was hurt. Now there was a big task to clean up the mess. The gas man still did not come. I said out aloud when my youngest thinking she would be of help if she asked for a simple breakfast caused another disaster. Bread and nutella! Hmm.... that sounds simple, right? WRONG !! The nutella was hard and frozen. So I put the bottle into the microwave. SPARKS!! FIRE!! I screamed, my daughters screamed, and finally I turned off the switch. Phew ! What a way to start your day and the gas man still did not come. Fried beehoon would be a simple lunch. Since there was no gas and it was gettting pretty late, I soaked the bihun in hot water. The beehoon become too soft to fry. And then finally I heard the hon. It was the gas man. He is finally here! So what the heck, I thought. I still have the rest of the day. I can now choose to cook fried beehoon, beehoon biryani or even beehoon soup. Because i can use my stove again:)These incident reminded me of a saying " BE OPTIMISTIC , EVEN IF YOU ARE IN THE EYE OF THE STORM."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thought of the day

This blog is the gathering of memories of the little things that happens in our lives which many of us brush off as insignificant incidences. For example not many people remember their kids first day in school or what they did during a holiday etc. But to me these little things are the ones which brings happiness and joy, especially when I sit down with a cup of hot coffee on a rainy day reading about my family, children, friends and other things that has happened in my life. I am also going to try and add recipe corner in my blog. This was a request from my eldest daughter who will be going to college soon. Hope you will try out the simple but nutritous recipes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I am Back again

My not so new but already repaired modem just came. So now I can sigh a breathe of relieve. My fingers had been paining typing using my phone not to mention the pain in the eyes squinting over the tiny alphabets through the phone. Hopefully the modem will not cause anymore problems.But hey psst, pssst, I forgot to mention that my beloved hubby bought me a new modem just in case. heeheeheee

Domestic duties

Lately I have this passion for baking and cooking new recipes. I thought, hey how long can you look at pictures in cookbook without actually cooking them. On top of that, my son Salman, very timely gave me Nigella Lawson's cookbook titled Nigella Express for my birthday.
I honestly can say that I actually tried and succeeded in making 3 recipes from the book. One was pancake. Okey don't laugh. It is a different type of pancake. Maybe a little exotic I would say. Next was the Cupcakes. Yehhh. Cupcakes are always a winner. True enough it became a big hit in my house. With all those buttercream decos, my sweet tooth daughters naturally made a beeline to gobble them down. My third adventure was Chocolate Mint Cookies. It was a let down though because the cookies did not turn up quite well. But anyway my 'ever loyal and devoted fan of my cooking'daughter Sofi loved it. So what the heck, as long as I had loyal fans and admirers of my so and so cooking, I will continue to perform my domestic duties. Though I must admit that sometimes the food may not look as good as it taste... ADIOS!!

Fried Beehoon ( Rice Noodle )


I was thinking of making something simple today. On Thursday night we usally eat out. So I only need to prepare for lunch and on Thursdays I don't have much time for elaborate cooking since I have to take my son for his guitar class than drop him home before going back to Sofi's school to pick her up and where I have to squeeze in time for my 2.5km brisk walk. So Fried Beehoon would be the easiest. Here's the recipe.

Fried BeeHoon

Ingredients
1 packet of Beehoon (soaked in warm water)
4 pieces of tauhu/beancurd ( I roast them in 190C oven for 20min instead of frying)
2 chicken fillets sliced
1 bowl of tauge/beansprout
A few stalks of sawi/mustard greens chopped
SOme celery leaves chopped fine
3tbsp chilli paste (blender dried chilli,onions,garlic and keep in bottle in fridge)
some dark soy sauce
2tbsp tomato ketchup
salt and sugar to taste
oil
garnish

2 eggs beaten and fried into omellete
some fried onions
fresh red and green chillies cut into rounds

Methods

1. In a large wok, fry the chillie paste in some oil thill there is a nice aroma
2. Add chicken fillets to this and continue to fry
3. Now put in the tomato ketchup, soy sauce, some water, salt and sugar. Bring this to a simmer.
4. Add the beansprout, mustard green,celery leaves, and the cubed tauhu/beancurd.
5.Mix well,and finally add the well drained Beehoon into this sauce. Please add more tomato ketchup and water if the Beehoon is too dry.
6. Put it on slow fire and let the rice noodle soak up the sauce.
7. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with cut ommellete, fried onions and the chillies.
8. Serve and enjoy with a cool glass of iced lemon tea.

Note

Try making more of the chilli paste and keeping them in the fridge. I sometimes keep them in small containers and freeze them. So when a recipe requires for chilli paste I already have them in the fridge. Try not buying the chilli paste sold in the supermarket because normally it has boric acid in it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

sofi's birthday!

11 of June is my darling daughter Sofi's b'day. she had been so excited since 1st of june. she wil be 9 this year. How time flies. Sofi has changed so much since her 8 year old bday. Now she is more confident, n she also knows what she wants at this tender age. Looking at her, i sometimes think that parents too can learn to become better by just obseving their kids. Anyway i would like 2 wish Sofi "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" MAY ALLAH gives u good health, a long n happy life n grants all ur wishes. Ameen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

modem frustration

Although technology has advanced a thousand times, it still can't guarantee us a borderless world. Look at me now, i m typing from mY Fön coz my modem is "out of order". I feel so @/*% without being able to have info at may fingertips. Anyway adios for now. Yawnnn to sleepy to type.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Journey Of Discovery

All praises to Allah swt.
As I have mentioned before, one of my greatest interest in life is learning about my religion, ISLAM. Firstly I am most grateful to be born as a muslim in my country for I'm able to perform my obligation to the religion freely. In this world of moral decadence, we need our religion to keep us in check and also find solace and comfort. I find great relief especially when I read the verses of the Quran which relates to certain incidents that happened in my life. It's as though, God himself spoke to me. Islam as we know is a Total way of life. How we live, eat, dress, learn, get married, have children, righr up to the roles of woman, man husband, wife, children, parents and everything about life. I also would like to remind myself what Aisha Lemu said in her book " Women in Islam " that Islam is to be taken as a whole.We should not take part of certain law in isolation from the other parts of the law.

I am writing about the religion here in the hope to educate myself and my children as learning is a process and it never ends.
The Prophet saw said, " The search for knowledge is a duty for every Muslim (male/female)."
"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

KOTA KINABALU HOLIDAY

On 28th June 2008, my family and I made a trip to kota kinabalu for the school holiday break. We stayed at the famous Sutera Harbour Resort which is nestled along the coastal road overlooking the South China Sea. It was a beautiful resort and the first thing that caught my attention was how friendly and polite the Sabahans were. Most of the people there spoke very good english. Kk is also a very clean town. When we went about KK we were quite surprised to see clean roads, parks, and even their public toilets. But one thing I don't understand is why there was no air -con in one of their biggest shopping centre. When we asked around, we were told that there was some problem with their air con system.But later when we went to another shopping parade there was still no air con. So I am not sure if this is normal in KK but it was very hot and customers looked annoyed and agitated. Imagine eating in Pizza Hut in a shopping mall minus the air con.

Anyway back in the hotel the kids were having such a good time eating swimming and just enjoying the ambiance. The rooms were quite comfortable and their food in Cafe Boleh can be considered excellent. I am saying this because we have experienced eating food which is not tasty in good hotels. The dessert normally looks good but taste horrible. But in this restaurant the selection and the food tasted good. One place to go is the Filipino Market near Sinsuran. There are many handicraft things and souvenirs here with reasonable price. But you must be able to bargain to get a good price.

Buddy Award from Yasmeen

Buddy Award from Yasmeen

An Award from Yasmeen of Health nut

An Award from Yasmeen of Health nut