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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye


My grandmother passed away yesterday.

And for the first time in my life, I experience what it feels like to lose someone who is truly close to my heart. 

When I was born my grandmother was the one who chose my name, Nurfaatihah. She helped to take care of me since day 1 and when my family moved to Shah Alam from Kuantan she eventually stayed with us so she could help my mom raise me and my sisters. 

When I was about 12 years old my grandmother moved in with my moksu to help look after her kids. But I still saw her almost every single day because my moksu's house was just a walking distance from my mom's house. 6 years ago, my mom and moksu moved next door to each other. So basically my whole life my grandmother has always been close to me.

If you read my post here, you'd know that my grandmother has been sick and lately her condition started to deteriorate. It was such an emotional roller coaster because some days she seems okay while other days she is too weak to even take a sip of water. All of us knew that her time is almost up. I guess in a way we already saw it coming.

But that doesn't make it any easier. When she passed away at home around noon yesterday, my mom, my sisters and I were there with her. It was definitely the saddest moment in my life, to watch my grandmother go. To see her body being carried out of the house, to see her in her kain kafan, to kiss her for the last time, and finally to send her off to her resting place. Even as I am writing this I still can't comprehend the fact that she is truly gone. My mind keeps replaying all the memories that I have of her. 

I still remember coming home from school and calling my grandma to request for her cooking. My favourite (among many) is her sambal kentang and ikan bills. She would happily oblige because she just loves to cook for her grandchildren. 

If I complain of a stomachache or a headache she would instantly ask me to lie down so that she could rub oil on my tummy or massage my head. I would then return the favour by scratching her back when she can't reach the itchy spot either using my nails or using this:






Once in a while I would sleep in her room on her bed and I would fall asleep listening to her stories. How she had to walk through the plantation to go to school and be chased by wild boars (babi hutan), how she had to wake up very early everyday to make kuih for my mom to sell at school and how my mom was scolded by the canteen lady because my grandma's kuih were a hit so people stopped buying food from the canteen, and all sorts of other stories.

Sometimes she would even fall asleep in the middle a story haha.

And when my mom scolded me she would scold my mom back. Grandmothers are awesome like that kan? :)

But most of all, I remember going into her room recently, she looked at me and gave me a weak smile. I asked her if she wanted to have some soup. She said, "Nenek dah makan tapi nenek nak rasa makan daripada tangan you." And that was the last time I fed my grandmother.





Just last week your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered to celebrate your birthday.




Now, you have left us to return to Allah. 

I love you so much nenek. My prayers are always be with you. I will miss you every single day for the rest of my life. Please forgive me for all of my wrongdoings to you. And I hope that we have made you happy on your last days.

Til we meet again, insyaAllah.

Al-fatihah.





In loving memory of my grandmother, Rokiah Binti Abdullah (in the middle on the wheelchair).





Friday, December 27, 2013

Still Alive & Kickin'

HELLO EVERYONE!!

I can't believe I haven't blogged for two months :O A lot has been gong on since my last post, I wanted to write about them but I just could not find the time. December is easily my busiest month in 2013. I have been so sleep deprived that nowadays, sometimes my body would just shut down without any warning whatsoever. One minute I was surfing the net doing my research and the next thing I knew I was being woken up by Alayna for milk and I found keyboard marks on my cheeks. 

But it's all good now. I have settled most of my stuffs and I have decided to take a break from work mainly because I need to start shopping for my outfits for our upcoming holiday. A friend said I should just shop when I am there but that won't work for me. I need know know exactly what to wear on what day before I leave for the trip, otherwise I would be very moody. 

Remember the spreadsheet

Hehe.

I'll update more soon!

XXX


Monday, October 28, 2013

Alayna's Lunch



Grilled salmon with sweet potato chips and steamed broccoli and sweet potato


I posted this picture of Alayna's lunch recently and someone asked me to share the recipe so here it is:


Ingredients:

Salmon
Italian herbs
Rosemary
Pepper
Broccoli (or any vege of your choice)
Sweet potatoes (normal potatoes also can)
Butter (I use unsalted butter)
Olive oil


To make grilled salmon:

1) Make small incisions on the salmon

2) Season with italian herbs, rosemary, pepper (you can add salt but I personally do not add salt to Alayna's food)

3) Pat on a bit of olive oil

4) Grill it until its done

5) Melt a bit of butter on top of it while it's still hot



I use an indoor grill that looks something like this



To make sweet potato chips:

1) Peel off the skin

2) Cut the sweet potato into thin slices (if you want the chips to be crunchy then make sure the slices are really thin)

3) In a bowl, toss the thinly sliced sweet potato with oilve oil, pepper and some italian herbs (again, you can add salt if you want)

4) Bake the chips in the oven until they turn golden brown. I can't really remember the exact temperature or duration. I think 180 degrees celsius for 20 minutes. I waited in front of the oven the whole time and kept poking at the chips to see if it was done (you can also fry them but baking is a healthier option).



To make steamed veges:

1) Just steam la. 

2) Oh and I also melted some butter on the veges while they're still hot, like what I'd do with the salmon.


Anddd we're done!


I loveee cooking for Alayna. It's so rewarding to see her eat what I have prepared and watch her make the "yummy" sign whenever she takes a bite, while knowing that she's getting all the nutrition that she needs. I can't afford to cook everything from scratch on a daily basis (like this salmon dish) so usually I will cook her pasta sauces/soups/meatballs/fishcakes/nuggets in big batches and freeze them. 


Ok now I'm hungry.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Forbidden Shoes



You can always tell whether Alayna got dressed by Nadri or me.

If she wears a halter dress + sequinned mary janes = Me.

If she wears a t-shirt + shorts + sneakers = Nadri.

Usually while I'm getting ready before we head out, I would ask Nadri to help change her diapers and her clothes. But in the end I have to change her again because most of the time he would dress her up in mismatched prints and colours (sporty purple t-shirt with pink Adidas lettering paired with yellow and green floral pants, seriously?).

I should have known better than to let him go shoe-shopping with Alayna without me.

He got her this:



Crocs



I will not let you turn Alayna into a mini you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Robot Face









I caught myself drooling over the Celine Trapeze these past few weeks. I think it's a great everyday bag. It's roomy, understated (no flashy logos or monograms), comes in gorgeous colours and it has a shoulder strap! Which is vital for us mommies because we need our hands to be free since, you know, sometimes we need to carry our toddler using one hand, and hold a sippy cup in the other. 

I almost bought one last week but i changed my mind when I saw these pictures:






Apparently the Trapeze tends to slouch if you carry it by the top handle (because the handle is attached to the top flap, not the bag itself) or if you carry too much stuff in it.

This just doesn't work for me because I carry a LOT of junks in my bag and I am a structured-bag kinda girl, which is why I loveeeee Chanel flaps.

The Celine luggage totes would be better suited for me because they're sturdier and holds their shape better.




There's just one problem though. For some reason, every time I look at the luggage totes, all I see is a robot face sticking it's tongue out at me, mocking me.





No offense to Celine luggage lovers. They're truly gorgeous bags. It's just me.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Bakers, I Salute You

I fasted last Monday on the Day of Arafah. And usually when I am hungry, for some weird reason, I would stare at pictures of food for hours. So there I was, lying on my bed with my phone and searching for #beststeakever and #cheesecakefactory on Instagram.

Pure torture I tell you.

Then I stumbled upon a picture of this:




Oh. My. God. I NEED THAT!!!

I straightaway searched for online bakers who would take an order for this for me to pick up the next day but who was I kidding? Everyone was back to their hometown for Raya Haji.

Maybe it was the hunger from fasting, I just could not let this go. Come to think of it, this dessert actually looks pretty easy to make. I mean, basically you just have to assemble a few ingredients in a jar. How hard can that be right?

So I googled the recipe and I found it!

    ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 12 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 ounces Boudoirs or Champagne biscuits (crisp ladyfinger cookies),* divided
  • 1 cup raspberry jam, melted, divided
  • 1 1/2 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, partially thawed, divided
  • 2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


preparation


Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Beat 2 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 teaspoon extract in large bowl to soft peaks. Fold in white chocolate mixture.
Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon extract; remove syrup from heat. Quickly submerge 1 biscuit in syrup; shake excess back into pan. Place dipped biscuit in bottom of 14-cup trifle dish. Repeat with enough biscuits to cover bottom of dish.
Spread 1/3 of melted jam over biscuits in dish. Top with 1/3 of partially thawed berries with juices. Spread 1/3 of whipped chocolate cream over. Repeat layering with dipped biscuits, melted jam, partially thawed berries, and whipped chocolate cream 2 more times. Mound fresh berries in center of trifle. Sprinkle almonds around edge. Cover and chill at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours.


Hmm, seems doable.

So off I went to the supermarket.

The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream which is confusing because all they say on the box is whipping cream/cooking cream so I googled and found out that heavy cream contains at least 36% of milk fat I bet you didn't know that too! Hehe.

After I got home from a wedding that night, I dragged my youngest sister to help me out.


The ingredients


First, I grated some chocolates to make chocolate shavings. It's not in the recipe, I was just feeling a little bit creative.


I used this thing. Dunno what it's called.

Tada!


Next, making the white chocolate mixture.




White chocolate mixture mixed with the whipped cream


It didn't look quite right though. I thought it was supposed to be less liquid


We moved on anyway.

Next, we proceeded to make caramelised almonds. The recipe only requires almond flakes but I am a sucker of caramelised almonds and I think that the dessert would be absolutely divine with them.

The best part is, it is super easy to make. You only need almonds, butter and brown sugar. And all you have to do is melt 4 tablespoons of salted butter, add in 2 cups of almonds (or any nuts of your choice) and then add 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Stir until it caramelises.


Easy peasy!

We had 1 cup of almonds so I had to cut down the other ingredients in half. So I melted 2 tablespoons of  butter and  then added the 1 cup of almonds while my sister stirred. Then I confidently added 1 cup of brown sugar into the pan, and halfway through pouring the 2nd cup of brown sugar, my sister said:

"Whoa, so much sugar!"

I said, "Yeah. Actually the recipe requires 4 tablesp----"

Then something clicked in me.

Oh shit.

4 tablespoons of brown sugar!!! Not 4 cups!!

I was supposed to reduce it to 2 tablespoons but I already poured in 1 and a half cups.

Idiot!

We started freaking out. I added more butter. Don't ask me why.

We ended up with this:




We stopped panicking because it looked kinda right and it smelled heavenly. My sister continued stirring.

There was another problem though. The recipe said to continue stirring until it caramelises. How do we know? What is it supposed to look like? I should have youtube-ed it but no time for that. So I told my sister to keep stirring.

And then in a split second, the whole mixture started to darken really fast. It was starting to burn.




We quickly took it off the stove and poured it onto a baking tray (we were supposed to pour it on a wax paper but we didn't have any) and we ended up with this:


T_T


Our caramelised almonds have become burnt almond brittle. Sigh. How did things get so wrong so fast?? Stupid recipe. They should have specified how long we were supposed to stir. Not say something vague like 'until it caramelises'. 


Trying to make the almonds cool down faster


The caramelised almonds started to harden. Since there were too much caramel (from the excess of butter and brown sugar), the whole big piece was stuck to the tray. We had to get my brother to help us scrape it off using a spoon. 




Used my hand as a cover because pieces of almonds were flying everywhere.


The aftermath


We ended up with small squares of caramelised almonds. We needed them to be in really small pieces so that we could sprinkle them over the dessert. Since the almonds were rock hard, I figured the only way to break them into small pieces was by using this:


Lesung batu


I felt bad for our maid. Her room is just next to the kitchen. And there we were banging away at 12.40am.




It worked! Ha! 


Finally, time to assemble everything and be done with it.




I was so excited because this jar (borrowed from my moksu) is almost exactly like the one in the picture that i found.

Okay. First layer: Biscuits. Second layer: Jam and strawberries.




Used up half of the biscuits and strawberries that we had and it was still at the bottom of the jar. There was no way we had enough ingredients to reach the top. Sigh.

My sister suggested that we use a smaller bowl. I was reluctant because the other bowl is not as nice and it has lines around it people won't be able to see the gorgeous layers (wishful thinking) of my dessert.

Suddenly my brother said, "Did you know that moksu used this bowl as an aquarium last time? The fish died in it."

That was the deal-breaker.


Transferred the ingredients into a smaller, less attractive bowl.



My other sister joined us. I guess she must have heard the commotion that we were causing in the kitchen.




Layering process continued.


White chocolate cream

Chocolate curls

Caramelised almonds

Biscuits again

Jam and strawberries

Supposed to be almonds first then white chocolate but I was so confused already at that point.

Final layer of white chocolate, then sprinkle with chocolate shavings

Raspberries for garnishing

Top view

Side view. Gorgeous layers la sangat. 

Added more chocolate shavings.


We shoved it into the fridge and went to bed.



8 hours later. 



Despite the disastrous attempt and the fact that it looked nothing like the picture that I found, it still received positive reviews from the family and it was wiped clean by the end of the day.

Will I bake again?

Errr probably not.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bed Hog

One of the things that I look forward to everyday before I go to sleep is to stare at Alayna sleeping. 

(*cough* creepy mom *cough*)

Seriously. I could spend hours just watching her sleep and smelling her and stroking her head. Up to this day I still can't believe that I have a daughter. I actually carried this girl in my tummy for almost 10 months! 

(As I'm writing this Nadri just spoke to me in his sleep. He looked up to me, eyes still closed and told me that I don't have to cook because he's not hungry and then went back to sleep)

Anyway. It really is the nicest feeling. If I had a bad day or if I was upset about something or if I merajuk with Nadri, hugging Alayna while I doze off just calms and soothes me. Best. Therapy. Ever (retail therapy is a close second).




I just wish that she's not such a bed hog though..


Now where shall I sleep? -___-


Yup. This mini boss takes half of the bed while Nadri & I have to share the other half. No matter how we place her at first, she will toss and turn until she is in that exact position. 

One time, she pushed us right to the edge of the bed and Nadri actually fell on the floor. And he continued sleeping!! I had to wake him up to get him to get back on the bed.  

I know we should start to teach her to sleep in her own bed but I'M not ready. 

(*cough* clingy mom *cough*)

So I guess in the mean time we need to put a mattress on the floor next to the bed, you know, just in case.