Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lamb kuzi and masak lemak cili api

About cooking and eating again this time. With abundant of lambs and meat in the fridge from the Aidil Adha, I thought of trying new recipes. It has been quite a long time that I wished to cook lamb kuzi style, especially after tasting some cooked by Kak Sham in one of our BBQ gatherings of Malaysian fellow community here. After some googling exercise, I tried a recipe from here: I forgot to take photo of the very first of my kuzi, but it was so delicious. Farhan and Ammar ate the gravy with bread.

Another dish that I longed for for quite some time is 'daging salai masak lemak cili api' or if according to the masterchef style of calling the dish name: 'grilled meat with coconut cream, tumeric and chilli'... A couple of days before this, Kak Nab gave us some of the same dish, but cooked with green plum from her backyard. It was so delicious that Farhan just sipped the gravy despite the spicy taste of chilli. So this morning I made it again. I grilled the meat in a gas griller. Its purest form to get the real taste should be on coal / firewood, but where to get those here? It may not supersede the one with the pure coconut cream as made by our long lost friend, Shuhaida (missing her very much), whose hometown is Kuala Pilah which is popular with a variety of masak lomak cili apinya.., but it did taste good. Talking about this masak lemak cili api, I remember the one cooked with grilled sembilang fish. Kak Yam brought this dish couple of years ago when the family dropped by at our home - also from Kuala Pilah, her husband's hometown. That was a pure dish of its kind till we won't forget it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh my baby

It has been several days that Ainaa was quite restless at nite. We suspect that must be because of the change of temperature in the transition to summer these days. Temperature is getting higher each day, but sometimes it drops drastically leaving the inhabitants struggling to cope with.

A restless baby means sleepless nite for the parent too. On Tuesday, I went to see the supervisor at 9am for weekly meeting with back pain, dizzy and blurred mind for lack of sleep, trying to concentrate the long response of the knowledge-generous professor to my short explanation of the what-has-been-done things for the week. I believe if I have written down everything he said in our weekly meeting, I should have published a book.

I left the supervisor’s office at 11 o’clock more blurred. The intention was to go home and to have some sleep. May be I could spend the nite to study if I could have some sleep in the afternoon. But once I reached the house, I notice there were many missed calls from Ainaa’s care centre recorded in the phone. It was in silent mode for the morning meeting. When I called back, Susie, the babysitter, told me that Ainaa was having fever for 39.4C. It is the policy of the centre not to give a baby any medication, so we would have to be quick to pick her up. So off we went to the centre, gave her some panadol, brought her home and tried to lower down the temperature. She was good then. So no sleep for the afternoon, no study for the night... Coffee would not work in this situation.

Until yesterday night, she was still restless, having difficulty to sleep but active and healthy during the day. Hope the phase will get over soon.
This morning, the father proposes something to deal with this. The one who will not be going to the university the next day will look after the baby the nite before if she was not asleep. If both of us stayed awake, we would not benefit the following day. Will this work?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Moving house

It has been almost a year. This is the last month for the first year of our study. It also means the tenancy contract for our current house is expiring. We do not want to renew the contract but to find another house.

There are 4 criteria that we set now. First, Farhan should not change school because of that. Second, it must be near to the train station; to shorten the travelling time which is currently up to more than an hour. Third, it has at least 2 bedrooms. Fourth, it must have a ducted heating system; to avoid the recurring flu that frequently inflicts almost all of us due to uncertain weather here. Sometimes we feel that there is no other three seasons here except winter. Last year, I think summer was only 3 days!

So since last month, we started hunting house again, looking at advertisements and inspecting houses. Our first two applications were rejected. But the houses still appeared in the advertisement. We suspect that must be because the starting date of occupation which is more than one month ahead. Things seem not to be fair. As tenant is expected to give notice whether to continue the tenancy upon expiry of contract 28 days before that, the landlord normally will refuse application which proposes a start date too long from the application. It's a lost of prospective rent for them. Giving notice without another house secured is taking risk for the family. It is not easy to get house. Last year, out of 7 applications, only two were approved. So the negative possibility is high. But securing house earlier means extra costs incurred which is very huge for us - double expense for house rental this month.

Another thing, if we put an end to the contract earlier, we will have to pay for advertisement cost for them to find another tenant. And if there is no other tenant, we will have to pay the rent until the expiry of the contract. Always safe side to the other party. So, freedom of contract is nonsense idea in the world of reality...

And finally, our house searching ended yesterday. We got a house. Thanks to Allah for answering our prayer. It fits all criteria that we set. 300m from train station. 2.7 km from Farhan's school. It has a ducted heating. It has 3 bedrooms. And now, it is going to be another unsettling phase of moving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


After eyeing for a dishwasher for quite some times, especially in the ebay, we finally got for ourselves a dishwasher. Interested with one advertised in the website, we went to inspect the item in the factory, located about 5 km away from home. Actually, we never see a dishwasher before, and do not know how it works. So the inspection is to satisfy ourselves that it does the job well. I specifically mentioned in my message to the seller that I’ve never use a dishwasher before. So he took quite a great length to explain to us the operation of the machine. He was also kind enough to deliver the machine for free.

It is a refurbished machine which comes with 6 month warranty. From my survey, it’s a good quality brand. The price is AUD$280 - a good price even for a second hand machine such as this. So far it works very well and we hope it lasts as long as we are here.

So it saves about an hour of our time for washing dishes. We should have bought it long time ago. For a family of three children such as us, we only wash a full load of the machine once a day for dishes from breakfast up to dinner. The way is, all dishes are to be put straight away after each meal to the machine, and to be switched on after dinner every day. For normal and economy cycle, it takes about one hour without dry function. The economy cycle skips the drying function. This is to save electricity bill. After all, the dishes and cutlery are not too wet when the machine finishes. We just left it dry overnight.

Since time is the essence, we hope it is a good investment. But we will have to scoop out extra money for the electricity bill. Still some say, a dishwasher saves more water compared to washing dishes by hand. We'll see how it goes.

Melbourne Cup Day

It is public holiday today for Victoria. It is especially for a horse race! My supervisor specifically mentioned to me last week, that this is the day that a nation stops for horses.

Since my office at the City Queen campus is closed, I went to City Flinder campus library – located just across the Flinder Street Railway Station, the central station, just like our Kuala Lumpur Central, but KL Central is bigger in size. When I reached at the Flinder Street this morning, I saw there were so many people around wearing beautifully. The gentlemen were in full suit. The ladies were in bright color dresses with hair accessories and flowers and high heels. Despite the cold temperature and occasional rain today, they wore short dresses and skirts. They were just like attending a special dinner. I wondered where they were heading. Only then I knew that they went to watch the horse race – with those clothes!