Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunflora' Whats-In-the-Fridge-Kuah-Lodeh and glorious B@hr@in

Its been a week since we've celebrated Eid and somehow time flew by in a flash. Only yesterday I managed to make some sayur lodeh to eat with the 4 packets of nasi impit I had. (I had enthusiastically boiled some on the eve of the Eid and a friend had given me 2 more packets.) I specifically made the sayur lodeh because I didn't want to waste the nasi impit which would underwise languish in my fridge.

Now about that kuah lodeh, now we haven't done any grocery shopping since we went to B@hr@in. And I still have some "treasures" from which I managed to get from Rachnee. (Thanks so much Farah! And Elisa you must try to go there next time! They have almost everything! I bought daun pandan, fresh wantan noodles, tahu telur, petai and even fresh ear mushroom.)

So I had to improvise with whatever I had in the fridge.

Sunflora's what's in the fridge Kuah Lodeh

1 onion chopped
2 spoonfuls of fresh tumeric blended (tumeric was brought from Msia b4 Ramadhan!)
2 lemongrass from my garden
some almost dried out leek I had in my fridge, thinly sliced
1 almost dried up carrot
1 radish with lots of roots because I've kept it for so long
1 can of coconut juice (santan)
1 spoonful of ready made belachan chilli sauce
1 cube of chicken stock
a handful of the wood ear mushroom (black fungus) chopped
A packet of frozen fried tofu
1 packet of glass noodles or so-on (


Heat some oil in the pot. Saute the onions and the leeks until soft. Add a spoonful of the belachan chilli and 2 spoonfuls of the tumeric. Add the crushed lemongrass.

Once everything has soften add some water. Add the carrots and the radish. Add half of the coconut juice and stir. Throw in the chicken stock.

Once the soup begins to boil do not stop stirring and turn down the heat. Pour in the rest of the coconut juice. Add the black fungus mushroom, the frozen tofu and the glass noodles. Continue stirring and do not allow the soup to boil over.

Wallah! We have the coconut vegetable soup to eat with the nasi impit!

The only comment my dearest made was that my soup was bright yellow which I attributed to using fresh tumeric and not dried.

And what else did I managed to buy from Rachnee? Petai!! Yummy! I made some sambal petai as well to go with the kuah lodeh!

Amongst other finds at Rachnee was green tea with basil leaves (biji selasih) and I also managed to buy some grass jelly (cincau) drink at the Geant in B@hr@in.

We had such a good time at Farah's. Poor Az@m was peeking all the time and refused to fall asleep. Perhaps next time Farah we'll see you again although it looks like it would be after you've had the little one.

B@hr@in was wonderful and we spent too much! Had very good seafood at Royal Thai and the Gulf Hotel. Made a mistake of wanting to peek at the Japanese restaurant and ended up staying for "snacks" which included cawanmushi, salmon sashimi and macha (green tea icecream).

Our next trip we would definitely stop at Rachnee and I'm considering a pandan leaf import business ;)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya

Kepada teman teman para pembaca blog semua saya ucapkan selamat hari raya dan maaf zahir batin. Saya ingin meminta maaf sekiranya ada salah atau silap.

Sesungguhnya saya sedang sibuk pada masa cuti ini Insyallah akan saya sambung cerita bila ada kelapangan nanti.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hmm entahlah

Reading Elisa's entry somehow resonates with how I have been feeling just a couple of days.

A certain someone mentioned quite a few times that "saya tak pernah pegi rumah Sunflora lagi." Ok, I thought, tell me when you want to come. With a baby it isn't easy for me to entertain so I told her just tell me when you want to come and we'll arrange something.

So this Ramadhan I thought I would have a little do. The guest list will be minimal (apparently for me minimal is 20 people) but since I was catering I thought might as well have it in one go. Even then I didn't get to invite everyone I wanted to invite simply because the whole thing would be too big.

And I invited the certain someone as well. She warned me that she may not be able to come but will reconfirm at a later time. Then comes the day before the ocasion. I called to get a confirmation and the answer was, "Sunflora I tak datang boleh tak?" Me being me I didn't probe further as to reason why the person didn't want to come. Tak nak datang sudahlah takkan nak paksa-paksa pujuk-pujuk. Bukannya budak-budak.

Then it came to my ears that the person discouraged another guest from coming. Takyahlah pegi Sunflora punya tu nanti kene bukak tudung dan pakai topi.

I must say that I was a bit upset with that. Its one thing not wanting to come but another thing to discourage my other guests from coming. Plus would I force my guest from removing their headscarf simply because I want them to dine with me? And if it is so, surely I would tell them in advance. All I said was "No Ab@yas at the pool."

As usual the hubby always take the diplomatic view. He said that I should take what arrived to my ear with a pinch of salt because whatever that came to me may not be exactly that was said.

At the end of the day I have to remind myself that my intention of holding the iftar party was firstly to sedekah orang makan and secondly to bring some friends together before some of them fly home for Eid. Should someone chooses not to come, its their loss not mine.

But all these Chinese whispers can be so annoying sometimes. Apparently my house is known for my cabinets of China. Surprisingly I've been to much nicer houses, much better decorated with a lot more lovely things. For me my house is plain and dull, nothing to shout about.

Entahlah, bersabar jelah nak buat ibadah pun susah jugak kadang-kadang. Baik duduk dalam gua sorang-sorang lagi senang. hmpphhh!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A reluctant mother

Unlike some women who can’t wait to break the news of their pregnancy to the world, I on the other hand, only told those around us around the sixth month. When I was already showing and the question was inevitable. (The news came out around this time last year, hence this posting.)

Many were surprised that I didn’t break this news much earlier. And in fact many others found out from other people. As soon as the news came out (courtesy of a few CNN newscasters) it spread like wildfire.

And I was so ill equipped and unprepared at being congratulated to. Worst still were the questions thrown at me, why didn’t you tell us? But some of these people, I haven’t spoken to for ages. Was I expected to pick up the phone to inform them that I was pregnant?

The few close friends I had, those I really hung out with, knew somewhat earlier. But what was most apparent to me was the different cultural reactions.

(Atenah and I had this conversation about how we perceived things are shaped by our culture. Yes Atenah I am still pondering what makes me the way I am. And I am beginning to think that some of the so called cultural values that most Malays have, well I don’t seem to hold those values.)

My Malay friends thought that it was their God given right to be told from the very beginning when I was pregnant while my Western friends would just take the information in and smile and asked me how I feel. And the funnier thing was that it was much easier for me to share the news with my Western friends rather than my Malay friends.

My beloved pointed out to me that I hang out with my Western friends because we have some things in common, our quilting hobby perhaps. They are people whom I genuinely enjoy their company and we have the same mindset about things. My Malay friends well, some of them, we hung out with because of the commonality of out culture even though we may not share any common interests or point of view. My Malay friends, I suppose are like family. You can choose your friends, but you don’t choose family.

The other thing I absolutely could not stand was the underlying implication that the Malays assume when they found out that I was pregnant. One of the first questions they would ask was, how many years have you been married? And when given the answer they would react as if a miracle has suddenly taken place. Oh wow! After seven years!
You can finally conceive! They would remark with such surprise.

Out comes the stories of how, "Ah adik I pun dah 8 tahun kawin baru dapat anak." Or "My cousin punya best friend punya sedara tu buat IVF 4 kali baru dapat anak."

It was very difficult to explain to them that it wasn’t that we couldn’t have children, but we chose not to have any all these years. They just cannot believe that there could be such a person who voluntarily chose not to have children after getting married and quickly assume that you have “problems.”

Luckily my beloved, being the ever so wise one, pointed out to me that, "What people say is a reflection of them, of who they are and what they are thinking, and often has nothing to do with you or about you." He also pointed out to me that, "their perception of things belong to them and there is nothing much you can do to change that."

Now don’t get me wrong, now that we have The-Little-One, we love her very much. And yes it is such a joy to see her smile and hear her laugh. But I am still adjusting to my life as a mother. There are days when I do wish I have more time to myself, so I can just sit down to think and be able, at a moment’s notice pack my bag and fly off somewhere. Unplanned trips were my specialty. But these days, it takes me two hours to get ready to go out. And yet I’m breastfeeding, so no hassle with bottles and formulas. But I still go around with a HUGE Gucci diaper bag.

Yes the Gucci diaper bag deserves a mention here, because its part of my denial I guess. I cringe at the thought of carrying a pink quilted bag with pictures of bunnies and storks on the outside.

Some of my friends only found out that I have a baby when I returned for my holidays recently. I just didn’t get round to telling them that I was pregnant and I now have a nine month old child. Some were in shock but I’m sure they’ll get over it somehow.

However, despite my reluctance and my trepidation, I love being a mother to my daughter. I still stand on my past decision not have children any earlier because I needed to be mentally prepared to be one. I needed the time to get to know myself, my limitations, my strengths, my values and my view of the world before I can finally decide what sort of values I want to pass down to my child.

And Atenah, more so now than ever before, I am constantly assessing myself and my environment, and what sort of message I am sending out to my child.

When and how I became like this? I think since my uni days when I was taught to be observant and critical of the things around me. When I was taught to think and assess everything.

And my wish for my child?

For her to get the best education a person can get. Not just having the academic accreditation but also the wisdom of the ways of the world. May she always find happiness in life, in whatever she does. I want her to always know that she is loved very much by both her parents. And that she will become a good Musl/m.

NB Yes Kak Teh, I do need extra hands, arms and legs this year. I don’t know somehow your posting about your mum made me think more about motherhood, in my case the start of my motherhood and my reluctance to embark on this role earlier.

Elisa, yes we are fortunate to have the opportunity to see the true colors of the religion.