Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday

 Today is Hubby's birthday. But I was soo not in the mood to cook beriya-iya. Lagipun, not much in the fridge to create an appetizing meal. Since weekend ni ada kenduri & nak balik kampung, lagi le malas nak wat grocery shopping.
 I started baking a choc cake after 4.30pm. Trying out a new recipe. Tapi miscalculate the baking time & temp pulak! It took ages for the cake to cook. While I was preparing the ganache, Hubby called to say he'd be late coz he needed to collect the computer that he sent for repair ( rosak masa kilat hari tu..). Phew..So, I managed to decorate sikit2 the cake just in a nick of time! Masa Hubby balik tu, I was putting the finishing touch..not that the cake was cun..:-) . Tapi sempat le jugak godek2 ice-cream as a dessert..Dinner pulak, spagheti goreng jek..punya le malas..hehe..Tapi kira okay le tu coz I could still cook eventhough my tummy was feeling weird. Dah phase alah le ni..The cake turned out to be nice & moist.
 To Hubby, Happy Birthday dear. You're the best hubby & papa whom we could ever wish for. We love u..May Allah bless u always.

Best Moist Chocolate Cake
Source: here

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups Hershey's cocoa ( I used other brand )
2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt.
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mazola / vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat ovem to 300F (150C ). Grease a baking dish. ( I used 10" baking pan )
2. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
3. Mix at medium or high speed until all ingredients are blended & smooth.
4. Pour into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool before putting ganache.

Note: For homemade buttermilk; mix 1 tbs of white vinegar or lemon juice with up to 1 cup milk. Allow to stand for 5min to 15 min.

Our dessert

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

After 47 years..

 It's been raining everyday for the past few days. But, last Sunday siap with lightning & thunder. We were in the car from SP at that time. Kilat menyambar2 depan kereta sampai traffic light pun black out. Seriau je..Just found out yesterday that Hubby's PC kat office pun affected. Padahal switch tutup, cuma tak cabut je. Rosak teruk gak. Mother board rosak. Kat rumah bila time kilat, seriau je nak bukak computer.. & I pun mmg le malas betul nak mengadap laptop kat rumah. Nak update blog lagi le malas..:-)
 The previous week we celebrated mak & ayah's 47th anniversary. Konon2nye nak wat surprise..Tapi hampeh..:-) In the first place, Ila yg tak dapat join the celebration pegi wish kat Mak pagi2 buta, then kak pulak was supposed to get home early, so I didn't have to inform Mak & Ayah to get home early from surau. Tup2 Kak & Abang balik lambat coz they had to wait for the chicken chop they ordered. On top of that, the cheesecake that I made was so lembik coz Mak defrosted the fridge ( Mind u..switch off the fridge terus! ) since lunch & we cut the cake after dinner! Huwaa...Habis le kek ku terus tak menarik gitu..Lembik gilers..Tapi everything went smoothly. Yang kelakar, I didn't know kak & abang celebrated their 26th anniversary the same day! Bila Izatul ( my niece) tanya, I blur je la. Rupa2 nya Ibnu, the youngest yang tau..So, sorta double celebrations la walaupun kecil2an..

Blueberry Cheesecake

 I'm sure mak & ayah never celebrate their anniversaries in a lovey-dovey manner coz ayah is not a romantic person...hehe..Tapi kalau Hubby lupa our anniversary...maunya I muncung seminggu..haha..So far, he never fail to.. Eventhough, mak & ayah  never celebrate their anniversaries, I'm amazed & bersyukur that their marriage lasts this long. As far as I can remember, they are great parents. But of course they have faults too...Oh well, nobody's perfect! We really appreciate what they did to us. They made sure that every one of us got the best education that we could manage. I remembered, when I had to further my studies in Perth, Ayah couldn't send me off to the airport coz he was bedridden for a long time after an accident. That was the first time I saw Ayah's tears which really broke my heart. After a bad accident & 2 angiograms later , Ayah is still around to celebrate their 47th anniversary. Syukur..Alhamdulillah, we are who we are because of the opportunities given by them. Terima kasih mak & ayah. Happy 47th anniversary.

My beloved mak & ayah @ 67 & 69 y.o respectively on their 47th anniversary

Cucu2 diorang aka my sweet princesses at Taman Jubli baru2 ni..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Addition

I've been feeling tired lately. Initially, I blamed it on being jet-lagged. But, It's been a week since I got back from Beijing, there must've been something else. So, today I act upon the nagging feeling that there'd be another addition to the family soon. Sure enough, after the test, it's very clear that Baby is going to be a big sister by the end of the year. Alhamdulillah. We did plan to get another baby before Hubby is 40. Well, he's still 40 by the end of the year..:-)

Baby Adalia - Day 2. A wanna be big sis.

Adalia - 3 weeks old

 For closure, I really hope that we'd get a boy. But, girl pun tak kisah asalkan sihat & selamat & jadi anak solehah. Amin..So, as usual, I'll be seeing Dr Zainol in a few months time. Just the normal check- ups. We normally did the labtests at Hubby's clinic. So, kalau pegi kat Dr Zainol just for regular check-ups.
 When I got the result this afternoon, I've been thinking about the medication I took for allergy. Hopefully, it's ok. Another weird thing was, when we were doing the Foot Massage in Beijing, while being briefed, the coordinator asked me whether i was pregnant. Of course I denied. Pelik gak apasal dia cakap cam tu kat I instead of to Ila as well...since I lagi kurus dari Ila.hehe..Sorry Ila..Rupa2nya may be ada aura or air muka orang preggy kut masa tu eventhough I was not aware of it myself. He said kalau preggy tak leh urut kaki & since rendam kaki tu pun dalam herbal bath, so mmg tak recommend kat this group. Harap2 tak de apa2 masalah...Insyaallah.
 Since I won't be cooking oily stuff in a few months time, the Siakap Stim I made a few days ago would be a good menu. I normally would start having evening sickness after the second month which lasted after the fourth month. Siakap Stim ni mmg simple & juicy. Senang sesangat nak buat. i waktu2 cam ni mmg alah kat oily food.

Siakap Stim

1 ekor siakap ( I potong 2 )
1 tsp garam
2 tbs sos cili
2 tbs sos tiram
1 capsicum ( potong kecil )
1 tomato ( potong dadu )
1 inci halia ( hiris nipis )
1 bawang besar (di hiris nipis )

1. Lumur siakap dengan garam, sos cili dan sos tiram.
2. Taburkan bahan2 lain di atas siakap.
3. Stim selama 1/2 jam.
4. Hidangkan bersama nasi panas.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shopping & Getting Around in Beijing

Beijing is a nice and systemetic city albeit polluted. When we first get there, we wondered where were all the people. Considering the population is 17 millions, we  noticed not many people on the streets. But later we could see people at peak hours & at subway stations. Beijing was in early spring when we arrived. Memula ingatkan dapat le tgk bermacam2 jenis bunga...rupa2nya pokok2 still togel..:-(. The temp range from 4C to 18C. Tapi tghari buta pun still 8C. So, tak tau le bilanye yang 18C tu.

Waiting for a cab to Hong Qiao Market

 Getting around in Beijing is quite easy. You can choose either taxi, bus or subway. Tapi kalau nak naik taxi, make sure someone ( We asked a receptionist at our hotel ) wrote your destination in Mandarin. Nanti nak ke tempat lain dihantarnya ke tempat lain! We never used buses there as it's difficult since our mandarin is zero except for a few basic phrases. Since our hotel is near the subway station, we did use subways a few times. Naik subway senang if you know where to stop and the announcements are made in Mandarin & English. Lagipun kat dalam coach pun ada route with each stations printed. Kat dalam leaflets for tourists pun ada map untuk subways from Line 1 to Line 13.Memula tgk map tu mmg rasa blur, tapi bila dah naik subway to baru boleh faham. Taxi drivers in Beijing are generally honest except for 1..Kitaorang terkena on our last day there. Tempat tu patutnya took only 5 mins, tapi dia pusing sampai 30mins tak sampai2 lagi. We had to force him to stop & took a subway to our hotel! Dah le nak kena cepat ke airport. Mmg geram betul! Nasib le we made it in plenty of time to check- in.

Malaysian Embassy - With Abang & K.Liza. Ronda embassy malam2 buta..

Abang's Office

 Shopping in Beijing really needs supreme bargaining skills..:D. Asking price is normally over 5x what you can bargain for. Kalau beli T-shirt, normally diorang letak harga over RMB200. So kena start bargain from RMB20. Up sampai kita rasa2 value t-shirt tu. Normally boleh dapat around RMB40 - RMB60 depending on the quality of the t-shirt. Kalau dia tak bagi gak, cepat2 blah. Dia akan panggil balik punya..Tapi kalau dia tak panggil balik, go to the next stall, & up sikit price yang kita offer tadi. By the way RM1 = RMB2( Renminbi =Yuan= Kuai).

Hong Qiao Pearl Market

Toy World

 Tempat yang syok untuk shopping are Hong Qiao Pearl market, Sanlitun Yashow Market, and Silk Street. Semua barang lbh kurang je. Tapi if u want electronics, Hong Qiao has better selection. PenDrive yang 400-600GB hanya boleh dapat kat Hong Qiao je..The price is really cheap around RM30 je. Leather jacket baik beli kat Yashow. The best time to shop is morning coz masa ni traders are still fresh & eager to do sale. Normally boleh tekan harga betul2. Kalau dah petang2 diorang dah buat muka boring..Other place is Xidan. tapi kitaorang tak sempat pegi pun. Kalau nak beli toys for your kids, go to Toy World just behind Hong Qiao Pearl market. U'd be spoilt for choice. Wangfujing is another shopping area. Tapi macam other shopping malls at any big cities. Kitaorang tak beli apa2 pun kat sini. Just jalan2.


Silk Street

 Halal Food in Beijing is difficult to find. Kalau halal pun, they'd definitely serve alcohol. Kalau tak, chinese tak masuk kedai tu. Ada 1 restaurant yag kitaorang masuk siap serve pork lagi..tapi tulis kat luar Halal. Baru nak order tgk2 waiter tgh served pork kat meja sebelah. Bila tgk menu mmg ada pork, terus kitaorang blah. So, pagi2 before keluar, ada le sorang chef tu ( my BIL le..), siap rajin masakkan porridge at 6am. Lepas subuh le tu..dah terang benderang pun..:-) . That's our breakfast aside from sandwiches.

Dinner at Turkish Mum - Hubby had rice & eggplant beef stew. I had basmathi rice & lamb kebab

  All in all, I really enjoyed my trip to Beijing. Kalau le ada orang nak buka halal restaurants, mmg le tersangatlah bagusnya coz kat sini mmg susah sesangat muslims nak makan kat luar. My advice, kalau nak ke Beijing, bring with u plenty of instant noodles & serunding or whatever. Kalau yang suka pedas tu, bawak le sambal belacan sekali ye..hehe..( coz I know my chinese friend brought along with her sambal belacan to Korea since dia ni mmg hantu sambal belacan! )

Good Bye Beijing

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cuti - Cuti Beijing - Part II

We started our 2nd day tour by heading to the Great Wall. On the way, we stopped at Jade Factory. We listened to another explanation on how to recognise the quality of jade. We browsed around the store and I got myself a jade to make a pendant. It was okay to buy stones here as you could only find finished products outside.

At Jade Factory

 We continued our journey to Badaling Great Wall which is a few hours drive from Beijing. The Great wall has 5 entrances and Badaling Great Wall is one of the parts that is well maintained. It was freezing cold.( We even saw snow in a drain! ). On the way there, we could see people climbing the stairs of the Great Wall. We were really impressed at those who made it to the top as the climb was very steep towards the top. We managed to climb to the 3rd base. ( There are 5 bases at this part of the Great Wall ). Actually, we were quite impressed with Hubby who managed to climb with us to the 3rd base since he has knee problems. The trick to climbing the stairs... Don't look back or you would't be able to proceed. We encountered this Eurasian guy who was so scared that he had to turn back..:-) Ada sorang tu sampai ketaq lutut when we reached the 3rd base..hikhikhik..As for me, I'm quite surprise myself that i could climb that far since I lacked exercise. Another trick is, have a good rest at each base to catch your breath before the next climb. There were a few ladies who climbed the stairs carrying their kids. I really salute these ladies!

At the entrance of Badaling Great Wall

1st base 

2nd base

3rd base

 After taking a lot of photos at the Great Wall, we headed back. We stopped at the cloisant factory where we had lunch at Golden Palace restaurant & had our zohor prayer there. Then, we were introduced to the Malaysian owner at the Jewellery City just in front of Beijing 2008 Olympic National Stadium. At the jewellery city we were offered  huge discounts on the items since they said we're Malaysians. I'm not sure how true it was..or is it the same gimmick for everybody?..Hmmm..But, we did't buy anything there. I'd rather buy something in Malaysia at my trusted jeweller.

Cloisant Factory

Our lunch at Golden Palace Restaurant

Beijing 2008 Olympic National Stadium

Then, we were treated to tea- tasting. Since I don't like tea, I just took a sip or two of a few types of tea served. Before our dinner, we were given a taste of shopping at Sanlitun Yashow Market. Didn't have much time to shop as our dinner was booked at 7pm. But, we got an idea of the price range & how to bargain.


Our dinner

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cuti- Cuti Beijing - Part 1

We arrived in Beijing late afternoon on April 7. Abang picked us up at Beijing South Railway Station and dropped us at our hotel, Century Towers. It's a really convenient hotel as it's very near the shinjing subway station and shopping malls. We managed to shop around for groceries at nearby malls that nite. It was so difficult to choose foodstuffs as the packaging was written in Mandarin.

In front our hotel, Century Towers

Since we had a ground package for a 2-day tour, we started our morning at 8am. By the way, Subuh finished at 5.45am. We met Max, our tour guide at the lobby. Our 1st destination was Summer Palace, a breathtaking place. It's a palace where Empress Dowager Cixi used during summer to escape hot weather.

The entrance of Summer Palace

Max explaining something about Summer Palace

Inside Summer Palace

 Then we were driven to Pearl Store, a govt-owned store where we were shown the raw pearls & the finished products. Hubby bought the pearl cream & I bought some jewelleries. We later found out that it was a lot cheaper ( provided you have good bargaining skills..) to buy these stuffs outside.
 Silk Factory was our next stop. We were briefed on the process of making silk and got the opportunities to try our hands at weaving which we failed miserably. Here, nothing caught my fancy, so I didn't buy anything here.
 After lunch and zohor prayer in Niujie Mosque, we headed to Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Both of these major tourist spots are next to each other. Hence, for these places alone, we walked for miles and miles! The magnificent Forbidden city has 9999 rooms and constructed back in 1420. We had much info from Max.

Forbidden City

Standing in the centre line of Forbidden City & Beijing

Tiananmen Tower

Tired from walking, we were treated to a free foot massage in Chinese Herbal Medicine Center. While being massaged, they tried to sell their products to us. But we got warnings from fellow Malaysians we met at the Pearl Store. So, we were prepared for this. The price was ridiculously expensive. For a small bottle of massage oil ( resembles Axe Medicated Oil ), it  costs over RMB150 per bottle. They also called professsors at the center to bullshit about Hubby & Syukur 's state of health... just by getting their pulses. But of course they didn't know about Hubby's profession!

Soaking our feet before the foot massage

Then we rushed to Beijing Theatre to watch Acrobatic Show. It was fabulous which lasted for about 1 hour. We got in a bit late, so we missed a few parts. After dinner at the same restaurant that we had lunch, we were sent back to our hotel. Hubby & I were so tired that we retired for the nite. Ila & Syukur managed to get out again to an electrical store nearby and looking for instant noodles that Syukur was yearning for..:-)

Our Lunch - the beef slices in-front were so soft & delicious

Our Dinner

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Everything Cheesy

Alysa loves cheese and everything cheesy eg cheese cakes , pasta with lotsa cheese. She'd put cheese on anything that can be eaten with cheese or on food that we don't normally put cheese in. Just the other day, she ate roti canai spread with mayonnaise, then shredded with cheese slices! ( She asked Cik Jun to do it for her of course..:-) ). She called it pizza. Well, actually she doesn't like normal pizza. But, with this version, she loves it so much..hehe..
 There were many menu that she modified to her taste. She even eats rice with cheese sometimes if we let her! No wonder she's so chubby..haha..But, she prefers buns and bread to rice. There were times when she did't eat rice a few days in a row. But, we 're not worried as she always find substitute in sandwiches. Just yesterday she made her own cheese sandwich for tea. So, she can fend for herself when we  leave her with Cik Jun next week when mama & papa go for hols..

Alysa's Cheese Sandwich

1. First, peel the crust from the bread..preferable Gardenia as it's so soft..Then, put some ketchup on the bread ( Kicap Maju ). Finally, shred 1 cheese slice into small pieces. Taraa.. it's ready to be eaten.
Note: Mama has nothing to do with this recipe..:-)

2. Get comfortable to enjoy your scrumptious sandwich..

3. Eat your sandwich