Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Raya

I just got home from a 13-hour journey KL-Sg Petani-KL to send Nadira back to college. It was tiring.

Sg Petani-Ipoh took us 4 hours when usually, 2 hours would do. Sorry Lyana, I didn't get to call you or singgah rumah coz we were in a hurry to get home.

And I'm nursing a runny nose. Bad combo...

Anyway, raya was good. We wore red this time. I made KG's carrot cake for raya morning and my MIL was pretty impressed.

Just sharing some photos. Will write more when I'm in a better frame of mind. In the the mean time, enjoy your open houses and be merry.

Selamat Hari Raya from MrsNordin and family!

Boleh masuk URTV tak?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mont Blanc vs Kilometrico

It was 1 am and I was just coming out of the bathroom when I saw my husband sitting on the floor, rummaging through piles of papers and stuff from the drawer of our dressing table.

"You buat apa tu yang?"

"I’m looking for my pen."

He has been searching for it since last week but he can’t seem to find it.

"Alah… give up je lah the search. You’ve already bought two new pens recently, kan?"

Every fasting month, my husband would have a penchant for collecting something new. Last year it was kain pelikat. Kemana pergi cari kain pelikat. This year, it’s pens.

He would go out with his office colleagues during lunch break (if he was not sleeping) and visit some old stores like P.Lal or G.S Gill to browse for unusual stuff. That day, he brought home this pen which he just bought from P.Lal for RM300.

The next day, another pen from I-don’t-know-what store for RMx00 “It’s transparent, yang!”, he said excitedly.

Over the weekend, he bought another pen. This time, it was a fountain pen with a proper ink in a bottle. Then as we sat down for coffee, he started reminiscing about his younger years when he first learnt to use a fountain pen.

Remember that time? I remember I was in Std 4 when my teacher taught me cursive handwriting using a fountain pen. It was hard at first, must write very slowly because all the alphabets must be connected to one another. But once I got the hang of it, I loved it.

It’s really nice, actually. I especially like the part when I had to refill the ink. Dip, squeeze, let go – voila! But one must be careful not to dabble in it too much coz otherwise, you’ll get blue marks all over your fingers!

Unfortunately these days, I notice schools do not teach cursive handwriting anymore. Nadim told me there is no such thing in his school, he never learn cursive handwriting. No wonder his handwriting is still sebijik2 even though he’s now in Form 3!

I think, my husband managed to find one of his lost pens last night coz he seemed happy this morning. Already last night I overheard him talking to his buddy at work, “So esok lunch time, apa project kita? Nak cari pen lagi ke?”

At first, I couldn’t understand his fascination with pens. To me, a pen is just a pen. I wouldn’t pay more than RM5 for a pen, which I use for taking down notes, mostly. But as for my husband, his signature is very important, hence he must have a very good pen to sign with.

It’s a status symbol too, I guess. Having a good quality pen tucked inside the pocket of his shirt exudes superiority and class. Just like what handbags do.

Compare a Prada and non-branded handbag. See the difference? You feel like you’re walking on air if you’re carrying an original Prada on your shoulder than if you’re carrying one with no brand name.

For a non-fussy person like me, any pen will do. As long as I can sign my name, the pen has served its purpose. But for my husband, he may have his reasons when choosing his precious pens.

Last time, I used to roll my eyes whenever my husband brought home an expensive pen. But now, I'm thinking, if that's what he likes, let it be.

What can I say.... he's a Mont Blanc man while I’m just a Kilometrico girl.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Biskut Arab

My experiment with kuih raya is getting better by the day. I’m surprised they are actually not that difficult to make. Just a little patience, that’s all it takes.

So far, I’ve made 4 types of biscuits: Cornflakes, Samperit, Rock Bun and Biskut Arab/Suji. The last one was my latest invention. Why? Because MrNordin told me he likes Biskut Arab, the kind that melt in the mouth.

I was at KLCC last Friday with Madam Tai Tai and we saw this stall selling very pretty multi-colored Biskut Arab. Harga dia: RM35 for 50 pieces. Mak datuk! Mahal nya! Tapi sebab cantik punya pasal and for the love of my husband, I bought it anyway hoping that it would turn out to be nice.

Sampai rumah, after berbuka, we popped one in our mouths and believe it or not, tak berapa sedap. Terlalu banyak tepung. Rupanya cantik lah, tapi rasanya ada kurang sikit.

I was a bit upset. I honestly thought it would taste good given the price that I paid for it. So, I made another resolution, just like my Rock Run, to try baking my own Biskut Arab.

The recipe I used is this:

230g tepung gandum (goreng dulu & leave it to cool)
175g minyak sapi (cair kan & leave to cool)
175g gula halus
50g tepung suji

(source: internet)

Surprise! Surprise! They turned out to be pretty nice. “Sedap! Macam ni lah rasa dia, yang!”, exclaimed my husband.

And he was promoting it to my MIL when we visited them on Saturday night. Buat malu saja… bukannya elok sangat! My MIL took one piece (I was very nervous to know what she thought of it!) and as she munched away, she slowly gave me that approval nod and I was thrilled! Yeay!! She liked it! “Macam nilah… cuba2 …”, she said. Hee.. hee…

(but after that, she whispered to me, “Ada yang tak betul pada kuih tu tadi…”. Hmmm… memang tak pernah dapat perfect score!)

Anyway, I think dah cukup lah kuih raya I tahun ni. Maybe I’ll just make a little bit more to bring home to my parents in Ipoh.

For now, I’m quite happy to see stacks of my home-made kuih raya nicely arranged on the kitchen table. Kuih yang beli-beli tu dah tak tengok dah!

And the smiling faces of my family members as they eat away my home-baked cookies make all the trouble worthwhile…

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Kuih Raya MrsN

Hari Sabtu yang lepas, I went to visit a friend. I wanted her to take me to the shop where she had her sofas reupholstered. Unfortunately, the shop does not take any more order because they are fully booked. After raya nanti baru boleh buat. Hmmm… nampaknya tahun ini, raya pakai kerusi buruk tu jugak lah. This is what happened when we procrastinate.

Anyway, after going to the shop, I dropped by at her house coz she wanted to show me her kuih raya which she has just attempted to bake after so many years. Usually, like me, she’d just buy them from the shops or order from the bakers. This year, she said, she wanted to make them herself because it’s so easy and cheaper that way. Plus she has a new maid who actually sells kuih raya.

So apa lagi… she went to shop, bought the stuff and started baking. Over the weekend, she managed to make a good 5-6 type of biskut raya and they looked pretty neat to me.

BJ, engkau buat lah sendiri. Senang saja..” , said my friend.

I was a bit skeptical at first because I have never tried making my own kuih raya. Dulu-dulu, masa kecik, adalah tolong mak buat kuih raya. Itu pun setakat potong buah cherry, terap adunan dengan acuan, or susun kuih dalam balang. Buat sendiri the whole thing from scratch memang tak pernah.

Tapi memandangkan my friend ni yang beriya2 kata senang, senang, I pun terus teruja untuk mencuba. She gave me the recipes of some of the kuih which she has tried plus some of the basic ingredients like tepung kastad, badam kisar and a block of butter. So, I really had no reason not to try it, lah kan?

I went home and started thinking of what biscuits to make. In my mind, I only had 2: Biskut Cornflakes and Samperit because these are the biscuits that I like best. Kalau beli, satu balang can cost me RM27-35 (depending on where I buy it from) itu pun tak tentu sedap. Kalau buat sendiri, lebih murah:

Butter - RM3.50, Tepung - RM3.60, Gula – RM 1.50.

Vanilla essence, cornflakes, apa ke benda lagi tu memang dah sedia ada kat rumah, tak payah beli lagi. So, you see? Tak sampai RM10 je costnya and you can make a lot more than satu balang. With that, I was convinced.

I first tried the Cornflakes because I didn’t have the acuan samperit at that time. First batch, tak menjadi. Rasa ada, tapi rupa dia tak berapa menarik. It was flat and a tad too sweet.

So I tried it the second time. Ok sikit ~ rupa ada, tapi rasa ada kurang sikit sebab terlupa taruh susu tepung (konon dah terror tak payah tengok resipi!). But overall, I think they were quite nice (for my standard lah). Kata orang, tak malu lah kalau nak hantar rumah mak mertua! And every time after berbuka, MrNordin & Nadim will take a bite or two, and I’m quite happy to see that they like it.

On Monday, we went to hunt for the acuan samperit at Chow Kit. Why there? Because I wanted to buy yang tembaga punya, like the one my mother had. I went down to look for it, my husband and the rest of my family members waited in the car, amidst the jam. Tapi mana ada jual lagi acuan tembaga sekarang ni… jenuh bertanya, semua kata tak ada. In the end, I bought the plastic ones because my husband was already screaming at me on the phone to come back to the car. Oh well… men! They just don’t understand the concept of look, see and feel before buying anything, do they?

With those things in my possession, I could start making my biskut samperit. But the recipe? I had 3 different versions, tak tahu mana satu nak pilih. Ada yang pakai tepung gandum and cornstarch, ada yang pakai tepung kastad saja and ada yang pakai a combination of all three tepungs. Hai… pening! Pilih punya pilih, I chose the one with tepung gandum and cornstarch because this recipe uses condensed milk.

Tak jadi…. KERAS!!! Campak kat dinding pun tak pecah! Biskut samperit is supposed to be soft and melt in the mouth, right? Not hard like biskut Tai Thong!

I tak puas hati! So a day after that I tried it again, this time using the tepung kastad version. Amazingly, that turned out very well. Just the right texture and taste. My maid kata, “Sedap… macam nilah baru ada rasa samperit!”. Lega….

Having completed two types of kuih raya (after two failed attempts), I realized that I’m not cut to be a baker, like some of my friends who can actually make money out of it. Baru dua jenis kuih, dah tak larat. Macamana lah agaknya orang yang buat beratus-ratus biji kuih tu untuk dijual di hari raya? Yang jenis duduk depan oven dari lepas sahur sampai nak berbuka, buat kuih punya pasal. Hee… amazing! But I suppose, if you know there’s money in it, you’ll do it anyhow.

As of now, tepung ada banyak lagi kat rumah, butter pun ada lagi. So, I think I’m going to make some more this weekend.

My husband told me his favourite biskut raya is “Rock Bun” but not many people make it anymore. So semalam I dah try lah, tapi err… tak berapa menjadi jugak. I think the texture was not quite right. The recipe I used stated “Beat butter and sugar”, but I think the correct way to do it is to use teknik “Gaul & Ramas”. I remember this because Rock Bun was the first biscuit I made in my SRT class! So tak apa, I shall try it again and surprise my husband when he comes back from JB tomorrow.

Cheers everyone and selamat mencuba! If I can do it, so can you!!