Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life here

When you are away from home, it is inevitable to miss so many things exclusive there especially our home country which is merrier than others .. ;-)

Here, I found the surrounding is quiet, calm and serene even though our home is just about 12 km from the Melbourne city centre. This must not be the case of Kuala Lumpur city within the same radius. The elite's however must be the exception..

Not many people can be seen from the window of the house, even in the afternoon. Only once in a while, we can see our neighbour in front of our house brings his dog for exercising. It's too quiet. I don't know where children spend their time.. must be at home most of the time, playing with game or watching tv. Another theory is that people spend their time in their backyard which here is surrounded with high fence. Talking about this with a friend from China, he also feels the same thing like us. He said, here no one seems to know their neighbours unlike his country in which everyone in the same neigbourhood knows each other.

For those who are visitors of Tapah restaurant or the same kind at night, or going shopping at Giant or Jusco after Maghrib prayer (like us), must be agitated with this. Only bar is open up to midnight, (I think) but for us Malaysian Muslim especially, nowhere to go after 5.00 pm for most shops will have been closed by the time. Especially now, when autumn is towards the end to welcome winter which is around the corner, the sun sets at around 5.30 and getting earlier. Most of the time, at 8 we are already sleepy. With the temperature gets lower each day, the most that we wish to do is to slip under the thick blanket. It's a big challenge to stay awake at night indeed.

Furthermore no food stalls found throughout the sides of streets like ours, which we could always stop by before going to or coming back from work to have nasi lemak, karipap, roti canai and what not.. (I reckon that once we come back, that must be the first things to have!) All food providers are located in proper building. They must be strict about food security here. So anywhere we go we bring together foods and used to open the food box to have breakfast and lunch while waiting for train, or even in the library behind desk or pc.

Positively, a good friend said, here is the first time the family eats foods prepared by his wife for all of the time. Back in Malaysia, they get the foods from various restaurants everyday upon coming back from work. So family members must be closer to each other.

Farhan also brings his food box everyday for his tea break and lunch since he only comes home from school by 3.15pm. This is encouraged here. The school canteen is only open three days a week. After all we don't know how to teach him to choose halal food. The only things he buys from the canteen is popcorn.

Parents are encouraged to provide fresh food for their children. The school also provides fruits in class for the pupils to eat in case they get hungry, must be luxurious for us. They hold the principle that the children would not be able to learn if they are hungry, hence foods are allowed in class. Parents are encouraged to provide fruits for the children too, but Farhan always brings back the fruits for he said he likes the fruits in the class more. He said his friends too never want to eat fruits that they bring from home. The teachers must be uneasy with this for the fruits may be insufficient to cover all pupils.

There are also many Malaysian friends who are so industrious to provide the things that many miss so much. Almost every week, there must be messages in the yahoogroups offering special foods for sale for the coming weekend for order such as satay, popia, seri muka, bahulu etc.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Colors of life

Excited to see the rainbow.

She is now 8 months

She's able to stand up with support. Must get ready to walk by now.

About food again

My first ever lasagna. Recipe can be googled, a lot of simple recipe can be found. For this I got from, by Eza, if I'm not mistaken. Thanx. The variation I made is I use the bolognese paste sauce branded Dolmio to lessen the preparation time. Tasty and yummy, said Farhan and Ammar, including the father, who asked me to make it again next weekend.

For the cooking too, I recently bought a stick mixer, AUD$39.00 at KMart. I found this simple mixer is so handy. It makes cooking easier especially to prepare food for Ainaa, who has started solid food since about 5 months old. She loves mashed potato, carrot and apple puree and chicken soup which is pureed too. It's good to make minced meat and chopping vegetable for salad.

After surveying several recipes, I tried to cook this pulut kuning (I think pulut is called sweet rice in English) in the microwave. Instead of hours, it took about 15 minutes only.

For my record, the rice is to be soaked overnight with some tumeric powder and I added some tamarind paste for I don't have the asam gelugor as suggested. This is for the color, I think. But it still has nice color.

2 cups of rice require 2 and half cups of liquid. The rice is to be cooked with 1 3/4 cups of plain water in high mode for 10 minutes. Then pour 3/4 cup of cooked and salted coconut cream. Cook another 5 minutes in medium high and it's done.

It's normally served with meat curry or rendang but I just served with fried egg and meat sambal, the leftover from the day before.

Small garden in our backyard

This post is especially for Emak, my mother, whose credit should go in making our small garden, now ready for us just to eat..
Tiny little blue/Thai ginger (Lengkuas in Malay) - almost 6 months already.

Chillies, which are so fat..
Daun kesum, taken from Kak Ika, our closest Malaysian neighbour in the vicinity. So, for sure we won't miss the Laksa Penang.

Lemon grass, it seems so hard to grow here.. hopefully it can go through the rough weather of forthcoming autumn and winter. At the back is chilli.

Pumpkin flowers. Just flowers so far, yet to grow any pumpkin.

So we can eat fresh tomatoes from our backyard for several weeks.