Saturday, December 25, 2010

I'm so bored..

What a plain boring 3-day weekend it is.

No new mail, silent handphone, boring TV programs, Ain being away to Penang.. hishh.. surely there's more meaning to life, Sharifah!

And what am I doing here in KL? I should be going somewhere to get fresh air! (ceh.. baru balik dari cuti nak cuti lagi eh..) Of course!

Not really looking forward for the new year.. Not after I completed watching 'The Arrivals' series.. hmm..

January used to be my fave month, but not anymore. Lately I don't think it's fun celebrating birthdays (it makes me feel aged.. :\ ).. unless if the occasion is for kids la..

Oh.. thank God for Haikal's reception tomorrow.. perhaps I'll meet some familiar faces.

(posting this entry is already enough to indicate how drop-dead bored I am..)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Heading towards 2011

Until this entry is written, I have only 27 posts this year? Whoa.. a sharp drop in count la Sharifah. Does that indicate that I'm busier this year or I'm just plain lazy? Hm, maybe a bit of both :D

It feels like 2010 has surpassed the speed limit to reach December. It's already the mid of the month, and most of the people in the office are on holidays. Me? Well, I just came back from my long holiday, segan la pulak kan nak cuti lagi, though I still have a couple of days that I should spend away from the office.

New Year's Resolution

I am proud to say my 2010 resolutions are all met! Many good things and great experiences happened in 2010, I can never be more thankful to Him. Alhamdulillah.

Hmm, for 2011, these are some of the things that I would love to achieve:
  • To talk when needed
    I notice lately that I talk a lot, especially when I'm excited. And I tend to feel guilty after that. So I hope next year, I will say only the necessary things.
  • To know how to answer to sarcasm
    The thing is, I am never good in answering people who like to give sarcastic remark. Why? Because I like to be the good girl. I like to imagine myself as a cute and tame doe, though some friends say my facial expression looks 'garang'. Also, I believe it's not a worthwhile thing to entertain. You know, it's like "sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words shall not hurt me" kind of thing. But after a while, I do think that these sarcastic people should have a taste of my fist! So, watch out sarcastic people, be it a makcik, a pakcik, cik keletah whatsoever, I will have my own words to reply. Don't ever think that I'm a pushover!
  • To be a well-informed citizen who knows how to evaluate news and issues
    If there is one thing I love about my dad apart from him being my dad, is that he always keeps abreast of the news around the world and will always have mind-opening opinions about the matters that are going on in the nation. I realize that I lack in that aspect. I don't really know how to achieve this goal; I guess having a wide source of information will somehow help. You see, I really aspire to be someone who expresses the opinions of the society. What more with the goings-on in Malaysia, where common people get more suppressed day by day. So far, I am so not qualified! Sigh.
  • To value money more
    This is just to remind myself to be wiser in managing my money. Not that I'm a big spender; I just spend on the things I've budgeted for only. I would love to see more savings and diversed investments in 2011.

Things to expect in 2011:
  • Our baby's arrival, insya Allah :)
  • Our Bangi home modification! I'm going to Home ID Deco Expo tomorrow! Can't wait to find lotsa good stuff. And yes, I sooo can't wait to move into our own house. Though I know it's gonna be tiring, but after waiting for quite long (and by that time we're already married for over a year! A year staying in parents' house is definitely NOT COOL) moving into our own house is absolutely something to look forward to. Finally we will have our own privacy again.. like what we had in Reading.
Like we all always wish for the new year to be better than the year before, I have the same hope too. And while the new year is still very young, I will be a year older. And yes I do hope I would be a lot wiser. Wiser in judgment, wiser in words, wiser in action, wiser in life decision and wiser in religious matters.

"When the world pushes you to your knees, you are in perfect position to pray. If Allah brings you to it, He will bring you through it.."

I will tawakkal, do my best and leave the rest to Allah.

P.S: New year la sangat.. new year Islamic calendar da lepas da :P

Monday, December 6, 2010

He left on a jet plane..

He went away again this time
leaving on a jet plane .. like he used to hum..
and that leaves me with a longer interval
to wait
I'll wait..

It's not like we have never done this before..
only the time was shorter
and they say if you could wait for years..
what is a-few-months to compare..


And they say again
distance makes the heart grow fonder
not to mention absence too..
well, I am trying to get a grip on them
though I do believe in those sayings..
yeah, I do..

My dear,
be strong there..
I'll take care of myself for you

yours lovingly..

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Heathrow to KLIA

Finally, my 3 months vacation has reached its end. I am already home for 6 days. How time flies..! What can I say, these 6 days have been the busiest days since the last one month! Just got back from hubby's grandma's house in Muar, and I'm gonna start working in a couple of days.

The journey back home from London was, should I say, for the time being, was a once-in-a-lifetime-on-own-expense experience. I loved the journey, and I really wished the plane would have flown slower so that I'll reach KL a bit delayed, haha. Thanks to my beloved hubby for the treat. 

We flew on different flights. He was on MAS, and his flight was 9 hours after mine! Pity that he had to wait so long at Heathrow. Sian sayang..

My boarding pass to Abu Dhabi.. before heading back to KL

Spent some time filling in my empty stomach at Etihad lounge before the flight.. and best of all, the surau was really nice..~

At Pearl Business Class section. I like the concept. Privacy oriented.

My seat of London-Abu Dhabi journey.. they changed it to 9A. Well, the most important thing is that it was the window seat :D

The entertainment system + navigator map display and my leg-rest. I spent the journey watching Salt and Grown Ups :D (takde la best sangat pun cerita Salt.. biasa je. Only that I got to laugh at Schreiber because Jolie was tougher, despite her skinny frame)

At Abu Dhabi Airport Etihad lounge :D

 A not-so-strategic view of the lounge food parlour

I had chicken briyani at the lounge.. just had to eat even though it was already reaching final call for my flight. If not, nausea would come to attack! As usual, I was almost the last person to board the plane (i like..~)

Okay, here we go.. KL, here we come!

The Pearl Business section was mostly unfilled. Unlike in the journey to Abu Dhabi (pak Arab main first/ business class aje!)The flight to KL was a bit boring.. I guess I missed the Chinese stewardess from the previous flight. She was a lot better than the stewardess who was in charge of my section.

 A view of Abu Dhabi from an elevation.. the city looked great at night!

I really missed the journey.. and I am damn sure I could do it again, even with my stomach getting bigger! Well, perhaps next time, I'll be on business trips again :) (tapi asyik Miri + Kerteh, dah boring dah.. :| what to do..)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I wanna makan!

Woho..I had nothing written in October! 

Oh well, I was sooo lazy to write. And this all-day-long nauseous feeling got me to be so unfriendly.

Currently, I don't really look forward for a new day. Why? Because all that I can think of when I wake up is "Hmm, what can I eat today?" How pathetic is it to think of what to eat as soon as one gets out of the bed? I think my appetite is pathetic. The choices I have are pathetic too.

I can almost guarantee that I won't miss Subway's tuna sandwich for quite sometime. Unlike I could eat tuna sandwich everyday at Central Market food court before.

And hmm, chicken dishes right now, also make me feel queasy. Even the smell of KFC can make me euuughh, bluekkkhhh!! Unless it's normally fried like the ones in ordinary Malaysian eateries. Thank God that my husband brought me to Malaysia Hall to have breakfast last Saturday. That fried meehoon I had.. it was sooo good.

Just look at me.. I couldn't even take another glance off the plate! And the teh tarik, it was heaven. Oops, that paru dish was hubby's. I don't like paru btw.

I really hope that I'll get something like this for the coming weekend. Dah boring asyik makan sandwich sardin and scrambled eggs. And am so sick of the smell of Punjabi food too..

You know, it's really not like me.. I couldn't even careless before if lunch was the final meal of the day.  Now, no more.

Haih, selera.. selera.. mau makan apa.. sambil berfikir, sambil tu angin masuk perut!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A hint of Edinburgh and jom masak II: Mutton Lasagna

Oh well, I decide to kill time with blogging in this cold morning. It is drizzling now outside the hotel and Princes Street is not as busy as it was yesterday. I am very lucky because the view from my room is breathtaking, and that there are many outlets for me to do my mini shopping along Princes Street. I'm so excited :)
Edinburgh Castle on the distant hill. And this Gothic structure is the Scott Monument, dedicated to the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott

The left-side view of my window: Looking toward North Bridge and Balmoral Hotel

Okay, let's get on with our lasagna! Fellas, this recipe is simple yet tasty, and I'm sure you can do it too!

This recipe is for 4 - 6 persons. So if you're making it for a smaller number of people, you can just decrease the measurements, but you know, it's always good to cook a little bit more, in case someone wants second or third helping :D

Alright. The things you will need:

Lasagna sheets of course! I bought the one that didn't need pre-cooking.

Oh yeah, don't forget to preheat the oven.

For the minced mutton gravy:
1. 300 grams of minced mutton (yeah, you can definitely use meat too, it's just that it is easier to get halal mutton here in Reading)
2. 1 can of sliced button mushrooms
3. 500 g of lasagna sauce (I use Dolmio's, but yeah, any lasagna sauce will do)
4. Salt, sugar and pepper to taste (white or black, up to you. I like both :D)
5. A hint of oregano
6. 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Here's how I do it:
Heat the olive oil into the pan. Then put in the minced mutton and let it fry for about 4-5 minutes, or until all the parts have turned brown. After that, pour in the lasagna sauce and stir well to get the mutton to blend well with it. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes, and then put in the mushrooms. Add in salt, sugar and pepper until the taste meets your expectations.

My gravy looked like this! I love the colour

Ok. Now, the white sauce:
1. 50 grams of butter
2. 3 tablespoons of flour (if you want the sauce to be thicker, you can use more flour)
3. 500 ml of fresh milk
4. Chopped cheddar cheese (amount up to your liking)
5. Salt and sugar to taste

As usual, heat up the pan and put in the butter. When the butter has melted, put in the flour, half tablespoon at a time. Stir well before adding more flour. After that, pour in the fresh milk, and mix it well with the flour and butter. Add in the chopped cheddar. Stir until the cheese has completely dissolved in the mixture. Add in sugar and salt to your preferred taste.

Mine was made to be a bit thick.. and I put in half block of the cheddar

Now, let's begin layering the lasagna. First, spread the gravy evenly in the baking tin. The place the first layer of lasagna sheets on top of it. Spread again the gravy, and add the white sauce on top of the gravy before covering with the lasagna sheets. Repeat the process until the gravy is all used up. After placing the last layer of lasagna sheets, spread the top with the white sauce.

 Just like this

Now it's ready to go into the oven. 170-180 degrees Celsius, 40-50 minutes. I prefer slow, not-too-high-temperature cooking. So I tend to lower the heat a bit toward the final 10 minutes of the cooking to 160 degrees and add in extra 5 minutes.

And so, voila! The lasagna! Nyum2~ tastes better than the lasagna of Suria KLCC level 2 food court

Sian sayang.. I spoilt his healthy eating habit! Sorry sayang.. seronok ada kawan nak teman makan.. so comes the appetite :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jom masak: Rendang daging!!

Some friends (and at times some busybodies too..) asked me what do I do at home when hubby's off to work. Well, I would say my life so far has been really great and I am well-occupied. Cooking, cleaning the house, doing daily shopping, browsing for new recipes, doing the laundry, quality times with hubby, etc. So far, every weekend is spent traveling around. Not too much of shopping activities as yet (so perhaps, some acquaintances can forget the idea of asking me to get them something from the factory outlet. I rather fill my luggage with my stuff) As much as I do miss the office, I don't really feel like going back either. Oh well, good times always fly fast.

Speaking of cooking, I made this rendang 2 days ago, after badly craving for something spicy and has a hint of 'raya' (oops.. please don't misconstrue the word 'craving' yah.. I just cooked it because I love rendang)

What was special about this rendang is that I made the kerisik and the chiili paste myself. And best of all, the rendang received a mark of 9/10 from my hubby :D Of course I was excited about it, because his tastebuds are hard to please! Oh, that 1 mark deduction was because the rendang was a bit hot. Hubby doesn't really like his meals to taste hot, unless they are sambal.

Ok so, let me walk you through..

The chilli paste

To make the chilli paste less hot, discard all the chilli seeds by cutting the chillies. Soaking the chillies (which are already being cut) in water may help to get rid of the seeds, in case you don't really wanna get rid of seeds from the chillies one by one.

Then, boil the chillies until they appear softened. Don't forget to add in a bit of salt into the water. You can stir once in a while (well, there's no restrictions to do so!) Then, when you're done boiling, let them cool off for a while. Place them in the blender and add in water and 3-4 tablespoons of cooking oil before blending. The cooking oil will help to smoothen the texture of the chilli paste.

There you go, the finely-blended chilli paste

Ok, let's move on to the next one


I didn't have the slightest idea that morning that I would be making the kerisik myself. I told myself that if I were to look high and low, I would probably find it. But I guess I didn't look as thorough as I should, or maybe because it was just not there. Luckily I managed to find dessicated coconut. So here goes..

Pour in the dessicated coconut onto a pan. No oil necessary. Just the dessicated coconut. Heat it until the dessicated coconut becomes more brownish from time to time. Near-to-dark-brown is just fine.

Mine turned out like this. I wanted it to be dark brown so that my rendang will turn out darker :)

Next, blend the brown dessicated coconut with 3 tablespoon of cooking oil. No water needed. Well, yeah it's kinda difficult to blend without water. But, yeah, just try to do it anyway.

So this was my kerisik outcome. Yeah, a little coarse, just the way I wanted it to be :)

Okay, so now it's time to make rendang!!

Well, these are basically all the things you need :)

The back row: Cooking oil, cumin powder (jintan manis), coriander (ketumbar), nutmeg powder (serbuk buah pala), fennel seed (jintan putih), salt;
In the bowls: tamarind juice, chilli paste, blended ingredients (1 large onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 inch of ginger, 1 inch of galangal, 3 stalks of lemongrass, 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder) Remember the blended ingredients are estimations for 300 grams of meat. If your meat weighs more, then you may need to double the numbers. Still, it depends on your taste of rendang. I mean like how you expect it to be;
3/4 Can of Carnation evaporated milk (to replace coconut milk), 300 grams of meat, palm sugar (Gula Melaka), kaffir lime leaf and of course, cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and cloves. I call them 'the four friends'.

Right, so we are ready to start cooking our rendang!

Heat the pan. Pour in the cooking oil and wait for it to get heated up. Then pour in the blended ingredients and the four friends into the pan. Stir well and until the oil emerges on top of the ingredients, then put in the chilli paste. Stir thoroughly and again, wait until the oil emerges.

Then pour in half can of the evaporated milk. Stir well, then put the meat in the mixture. Let it cook until the gravy looks thick enough.

It will look something like this

If the gravy is getting thicker and the meat is not yet well-cooked, feel free to add in water in the amount that you feel is good enough to get the meat to tender. Remember to cook on medium heat.

Figure the tenderness of the meat every 15 minutes.. because then the meat is almost okay, then only you can pour in the tamarind juice (well, my grandma said that pouring in the tamarind juice too early will result in the meat hard to be tendered). Also, add in the remaining evaporated milk, kaffir lime leaf , palm sugar and all the spices. Add to your own taste ya. I love the nutmeg powder. And the palm sugar will help to darken the rendang. Stir the gravy well.

The final ingredient to be added in after the gravy has thicken again  is the kerisik. Mix it into the gravy well. Don't forget to put in salt to taste.

So, this was my end-product (well, I cooked it further until it became dry and thicker.. dah malas nak take pictures..) I was glad that that hubby enjoyed it :)

 My rendang!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya

I guess it's still not too late to wish everyone Selamat Hari Raya :)

Can't believe Syawal has entered its 1 week mark. How time flies. Our exhaustion of the first 3 days of raya has not ended yet, and we are already embarking on a new journey today to Bournemouth for 3 days.

Thanks to the friends here in the UK, our raya was really enjoyable. The excitement started as early as the night before raya, in which as soon as my hubby arrived home from the office on late Thursday, we packed our stuff and left for London, heading for his friend, Faizal's apartment in Elephant and Castle. To our surprise, he and his friends prepared all sorts of raya cuisine: rendang, ayam masak merah, nasi impit, you name it! And the best of all, I feel one of my goals here would soon be achieved: making new friends :)

Here are a few pics of our jalan-jalan raya :)

 The masterpiece dishes by Pecok & Co.

The ladies.. waiting for Isyak prayers and Syawal takbir

 A few of us :) credits to Syina for the pic

Bermaaf-maafan with hubby in front of Malaysia High Commission.. :D

After that, we made our way to Malaysia House.. for Raya Open House!

We made ourselves comfy on the grass to feast on the goooodd food :)

Hubby and I made our way back to Elephant and Castle after the open house, while the rest of the group continued their raya agenda. Commuting even around London can really take its toll on the feet.. getting on the buses and tube trains.. huh. The next day, we left London and headed for Brighton to visit our friends, Doub and Diyana, his wife.

Doub fetched us at the station, and drove us to his place at Brighton Marina. It was such a scenic place. Very different from Reading obviously. Its sandy + rocky beaches and pretty town caught us enchanted. Doub and Diyana received three other guests that weekend: Renuka with her hubby Sachin, and Sachin's French colleague, Emily. We stayed there for a night, and both of them took us around Brighton. It was really fun!

The view of private boats from the apartment balcony

Doub was really busy in the kitchen

.. and when the food was ready, Diyana was the most accommodating hostess!

Nasi lemak!! Memang sedap. Kudos the the host and hostess :)

We were brought sightseeing around Brighton, including the beach, Brighton Pier and Royal Pavilion. On that very weekend, Food and Drink Festival was held at the town center, so there were lots of stalls selling all kinds of yummy food like cupcakes, muffins, jams, cheese, you name it. 

 Brighton was jam-packed when we were here.. I guess people loved the beach and the sun

Before we called it a day, we dropped by at this interesting restaurant called Bill's (take a look at the background of the picture, those bottles are food products made by Bill's!) Well, there's Bill's in Reading too, but we prefer to have home-cooked meal everyday.. I love surprising my hubby with my cooking whenever he gets back from work :)

Three couples: myself, Diyana, Doub, Renuka, Sachin and my hubby :)

Not long after we had our lunch back at the apartment, we bid Doub and Diyana goodbye and headed home to Reading.

It was really tiring, yet it was fun! More pics will be uploaded in Facebook soon. Oh, my hubby said he will do it. 

Ahem.. a hint of us at Bournemouth :D

Well, it doesn't say much about Bournemouth.. but it's really beautiful here. Really.

Ooh, and also, happy celebrating Hari Malaysia yah.. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1st note from Reading

I promised my friends that I'll be writing to them through my blog.. so here goes..

Kehadapan Caah, Wilson, Diana, Yatt, Aween and all my family and friends who miss me (hehe.. :D ada ke?)

It was freezing cold in Reading last night. The rain was pouring heavily throughout the day and night, and I got stuck with my writing, as I have been drafting this post since yesterday morning.

I safely arrived at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning after a journey of more than 17 hours. The local temperature was then 12 degree Celsius. Well, endurable (though the low temperature back in my office usually kills me) No jet lag whatsoever, although I could not really sleep during the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi and from Abu Dhabi to London.

The Etihad flight throughout the journey was not as bad as what I had anticipated after reading the online reviews of previous passengers. Nice meals, pretty stewards and stewardesses, window seat on both flights (my fave!) but only that the seat space might be a bit smaller compared to the flights I have been on. Plenty of in-flight movies to keep myself entertained with, and I could hardly sleep.. unlike the-usual-sleepyhead-me when I'm on flights on business trips.

The two-and-a-half hour stopover in Abu Dhabi was not a bad one too. No doubt the airport is smaller than KLIA, making it a bit congested that night accommodating a huge number of travelers. But it didn't really matter, and the airport staff were friendly and helpful. I also met a Pakistani girl who was on her transit in Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt and we had a small chat. Interestingly her parents were working in Kepala Batas, and because of that, she told me she was quite familiar with Malaysia (I don't think I've been to Kepala Batas myself!)

Some photos I managed to snap from my camera (and a few taken by my hubby)..

Stepping out of the flight exit led to this spectacular lounge. The mosaic design that connected the ceiling to the center pillar easily made me freeze my steps to take a better look on it. Oh well, if it was not unique and elaborate, then I would not think it was UAE I landed in.

Another beautiful ceiling design in Abu Dhabi airport. This shopping lounge led to the boarding gates.

"I'm leaving on a jet plane..~" Etihad aircraft from a distance.

I couldn't really sleep.. and I waited for this moment to arrive.. the sunrise. In real life, it was even more mesmerizing. The light spectrum was just so captivating.

We were gonna reach Heathrow in a few minutes. Just look at that. It was London!

Can you spot London Bridge? :)

Arrived finally! (this shot reminded me of the fighting scene in Die Hard, where after getting rid of the bad guys, Bruce Willis made the cool runway fire torch for the plane his wife was on to land. How romantically thoughtful..) 

Meanwhile.. Mr. Husband was waiting for his wife at the arrival hall..

Mrs. Wife stepped out of the customs exit and spotted her Mr. Husband. She couldn't stop smiling..

The grin was even bigger when he presented her with the bouquet :D So sweet of you sayang..

Finally, they were united again~

So yeah, I have begun my long leave.. and I'm having a great time :)