Friday, 30 October 2009

Project Kitchen:Shepherd's Pie

I haven't had a really big kitchen project for a while. So once puasa and Raya were settled, and with the invitation from friends, dapur pun jarang berasap:)Kalau ada masak pun it's really those simple dishes.

That is until Osman, a gym friend invited me to his annual Raya Potluck gathering (refer to previous entry) which means that I need to bring something. He did not assign me for anything specific, and once I confirmed my attendance I told him I'd bring something secret;)

Anyway, I thought I haven't made this pie in a while, so teringin la...I sometimes have strange cravings you see, kalah orang mengandung hehehhe...

So basically the pie filling is more important, and as this was to be a gathering of many friends, instead of the usual minced meat I opted to use the minced chicken. Yelah, we have to think of other people's sensitivity jugak kan?

My chicken filling was quite simple to make. Just chopped onions and a bit of garlic, chopped button mushroom and chopped carrot. For additional flavour (saje-saje) I also added a dash of teriyaki sauce.

After that just press the filling to the bottom of the pie mould. On that weekend from the 2 1/2 packets of minced chicken I managed to fill up four pie moulds with the filling.

For the potato topping, I prefer mine to be creamy and only slightly chunky. But then again, as is any other kitchen creation(??) of mine, tu semua ikut mood jugak hehehhe. That night, after the potato is sufficiently boiled and softened, I put about 2/3 of it into my blender and blended it with a few spoonful of condensed milk. Wahh..this is the Malaysianised style ok, because by right the potato should actually be added with some cream. But cream is a bit expensive, so as I only needed it in small amount, better use a cheaper substitute. Some more it gave a sweetish tinge to the topping taste. Not forgetting a pinch of salt and pepper.

Then the remaining potato pulak I just mashed with my laddle so that there'd be small lumps before all of them were combined. Sadly, after putting them on the waiting filling, the potato I had that evening could only fill up three moulds:((..Looked like I had to freeze the other one and brought three to my friends' places la...(I topped the other one later and brought it and shared it with my boss loved it!!!<--kes bodek Boss ke???)

Once I was done with spreading the topping, off to the oven they went. Baked each of them for about 30 minutes. No need to bake for too long as basically pretty much everything was already cooked.

Sorry forgot to take the photo of the pie after they were properly baked, but not much chnges from the ones in the oven photo. Lagipun after that I was busy having to pack them up to be transported to my friends' houses.

Glad my friends liked them;)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Beraya Di Open House

Bila dah balik KL ni, dah jumpa balik kawan-kawan, ada saja jemputan open house during weekends.

I admit I don't have that many friends, but the ones that I have are really genuine, great and warm people. And I always make sure that I go to every gathering that we have, and penuhi jemputan kalau dijemput ke mana-mana majlis kawan-kawan.

Alhamdulillah, Raya is is also the time for everybody to merapatkan silaturrahim, berjumpa dengan kawan-kawn dan saudara mara yang mungkin dah lama tak jumpa.

So after my trip back home, once dah balik KL, practically every weekend memang ada jemputan daripada kawan-kawan yang buat majlis open house. Bestnya!!Takdela nak kata satu weekend tu banyak sangat jemputan, tapi syukur average satu jemputan setiap weekend, so takdela nak melantak sangat kan..?

Syakie:Kota Damansara
Syakie is my university coursemate who is now making a home at Kota Damansara. Orangnye kecik molek je, tapi dah ada anak empat orang tau!!And believe it or not, her 8 (ke 7 Anis tu?)-year-old daughter is almost her height. Anak paling bongsu pulak baru setahun++, sangat-sangat cute!!

That day I went with my two other single friends, Shireen and Shahida. Yes, I know..all our names start with the letter 'S':)..We're the S Sisters ok..;)Melaram gila-gila jugak kitorang hari tu..

Layan gambar aje la OK:)

Syakie and hubby buat open house ni kat rumah diorang (duhhh!!), ramai jugak jemputan mereka sebab siap ada canopy lagi kat depan rumah. Caterer diorang pun best, sedap-sedap makanannya. Sempat lagi bagitahu Syakie nanti nak mintak nombor orang catering tu, mana tau kot ada rezeki masa masuk rumah nanti boleh pangggil caterer ni ke kalau buat majlis doa selamat masuk rumah hehhe...

Sherry:Damansara Damai
Sherry is another one of my university mates. In fact, she was my college roommate:)..Sherry just recently started her own travel agency, and I can't wait to pay her office a visit one of these days.

I also attended Sherry's wedding in 2006, and now she has a daughter, Hanna. Tapi sayangnya on that day Hanna stayed over at her aunt's place, so tak boleh la nak manja-manjakan anak buah sorang ni;)

On the same weekend, Haslim,another uni friend who's now settled down in Kuching was also around after attending a course, so sekali la bawak dia and we had a mini gathering la:)

Tapi makan-makan kat Sherry's place ni takde pulak menyibuk nak melaram ekk...So pakai baju biasa-biasa ajer...It's more intimate, and we really had a good laugh reminiscing uni days.

OK layan gambar lagi ekk...:)

Gambar kat rumah Sherry pun tak banyak. Punyala seronok kitorang berborak,nak posing-posing pun terlupa dah;)

Osman: Section 14, Petaling Jaya
Osman is a gym friend, and every year he would organise a Raya potluck gathering. The crowd here is mauinly from our gym, and dah namanya potluck, makanan pun macam-macam jenis.

I decided to make Shepherd's Pie to his Open House, so dari petang Khamis lepas balik rumah terus buat the chicken filling (taknak guna daging sebab takut ada yang tak makan daging, kesian pulak takde rezeki nak rasa my pie hahhaha). Then petang Jumaat lepas kerja just tambah dengan mashed potato cover, and bakar sikit. Hari Sabtu tu lepas masak-masak di rumah Kamal masuk lagi kat oven to complete the cooking then terus bawak ke rumah diorang ni.

Layan gambar lagi OK...;)

Tapi tak lama sangat kat sini, sebab lepas tu kena pegi pulak rumah Kamal, another gym friend whom I tolong masak earlier that day.Kat sini, awal-awal dah beritahu kawan-kawan yang akan proceed ke rumah Kamal jugak supaya tak payah makan Shepherd's Pie kat rumah Osman, bagi orang lain makan. Sebabnya?Kat rumah Kamal pun bawak pie tu jugak;)

Kamal: Section 12, Petaling Jaya

Kamal is another gym friend, actually among the first persons I made friends with when I joined our gym around three years ago. Sebelum ni kitorang berjiran jugak when he lived in the next block building. Baru-baru ni dia pindah ke Section 12, PJ, and I also made friends with his two housemates, Aizad and Zul. Kiranya ni diorang punya open house la..

He really liked my laksa Sarawak that I cooked during our iftar gathering that he asked me to cook it again during the open house. Sambil tu I also made roti jala for him, and tuan rumah pulak masak nasi tomato, ayam masak merah, acar jelatah dan fruit custard as dessert. Selain tu ada rendang, nasi impit and lemang.Haa....jangan main-main anak bujang tiga orang ni tau!!!Semuanya boleh memasak;)

OK gambar lagi..;)

Hehhee jangan muntah ye...Geng-geng kitorang ni memang suka berposing. Ada gathering sikit mesti nak bergambar, mesti nak tepek kat Facebook;)

So ni je lah roundout pesta beraya kat open house ni..In fact malam minggu pun ada lagi pegi ke open house Raya+Deepavali function. Ni pun temankan kawan saja, makan lagi!

I'm really thankful for having these people in my life, and InsyaAllah, kalau ada rezeki, mungkin in the future they get to attend my open house jugak la kann??

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I'm Doin' Just Fine...

OK I'm gonna talk about this once, and this time only. And it's gonna be a short one.

Despite my hoohaa demeanour, and despite the happy exterior I display to the whole world, I am nursing a broken heart.

You see, I'm just done with a long distance, long-term, really serious relationship. We've been together for about eight years, we've gone through everything that a couple go through, we've been through ups and downs of life, and I've been there for him just as he was there for me.

But it just didn't work out. There are so many things I keep from him in order to protect him, that now he may never find out, and I prefer it that way. Sure I miss him, and I know he misses me too. I don't know what's gonna happen next, but I'm taking one thing at a time.

But I'm doing OK, I keep myself busy, and I know I have solid support systems in the forms of really good friends and family, and passions and ambitions that keep me going. I have my faith to hold on to, and Insya-Allah, I face life with total optimism and endless exuberance.

I'm doing OK, I'm doing just fine:)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

My Angels, My Pride and Joy

If you happen to read my blog, and if so happen that you also read my Twitter updates, once in a while you'd have read about my kids. Well, they're my furkids actually. SEVEN of them to be more precise.

Yes, I love cats, and I like to think that I'm a pretty responsible pet owner. I've already had them neutered and spayed, I make sure they live in clean and safe environment, they get their vaccination, deworm and proper treatment when it's required and in return, I get their unconditional love and affection.

How did our love story start?Here goes...;)

Throughout last year, I had a teaching stint at a tuition centre after work. Really needed to supplement my income. Ala...sekarang pun still tak cukup jugek;)..Anyway, one July evening, just as I arrived early before my class, up on that staircase I saw a new mother nursing her newly-born kittens. I immediately fell in love with her. That would be Mimi,who is now my beloved,loyal and devoted cat. She must be a loving mother, for imagine having to carry all her SIX kittens up the staircase just to ensure that they are safe.

Suffice to say, I decided there and then that I would take them home. The kittens had'nt even opened their eyes yet, so I reckon they should be around one week old at that time. Brought Mimi home, and so we started our life together as a family.

These are some of the photos of them during their first few days at home. The kids couldn't move properly at that time, and all of them could fit into that square basket. Kalau sekarang, sekor je boleh masuk tau!!

As time goes by, I also learn more and more about giving proper care to cats. I bought nutritious food for Mimi as it was important for her nursing kids, and I also toilet trained her by buying her litter sand. Nasib baik Mimi is really a fast learner. In fact, I practically did not have to tell her where to do her toilet business, she instinctively knew what to do and where to do them;)

When the kittens reached due weight, I had all of the vaccinated and dewormed by a vet. Sure, keeping pets can burn a hole in your pocket, but I wouldn't have them any other way. Tapi I believe that kalau kita sayang haiwan, kita bela kucing ni, Alhamdulillah rezeki pun tak putus. In fact, insyaAllah diorang pun doakan rezeki kepada kita.

The kids grew up so fast. Soon, they became very playful, and they started to eat solid food. I also bought them kibbles, and alhamdulillah, Mimi taught her kids how to use their litter properly. Tapi yang pening kepala ni kalau dah start nak panjat and bergayut. But still, their antics are very entertaining. Kalau tension kat office, kalau ada problem, kalau rasa sedih, tengok diorang je terus rasa lega, or at least, hati pun sejuk sikit.

The first time I had to leave them for a long time was for my Raya break. Nasib baik my office receptionist, who is a huge cat lover volunteered to help me look after these kids. So kena la pass kunci rumah kat Kak Nora, and she would come to top up their food and water supply. Terima kasih banyak-banyak kak!!Semoga Akak pun murah rezeki tolong anak-anak kucing kita ni kann?

Along the way, not only the kids were getting bigger.Mimi pun got bigger!!Right before Raya holiday, I got her spayed at the SPCA Clinik in Setapak. Since then, Mimi became more manja, ate more and generally is leading a very contented life;)

Life went on as usual, minggu berganti bulan, bulan berganti tahun. Cats generally reach maturity age at around six months of age. I knew that before my kids become agitated and started behaving raunchily (?), I knew I had to do something. So then I brought Chikedis, Dodo and Dedek to Setapak to be spayed too. Now the girls are fixed, but what about the boys? Takpe...the boys can wait a bit longer. Benda cemni nak kena pakai duit jugak tau...

OK layan lagi gambar diorang yang makin besar..

In the meantime, I also rescued two kittens at my buiding. They were in a really bad shape. Took them to the vet and was advised accordingly on proper care. But sadly, one of them (ironically the stronger one when I took them) died not long after. The following week tu, my receptionist asked me to rescue another kitten kat office, so these two then bonded together as siblings. Back home, at first Mimi and her kids were not too happy with the presence of the new members of the family. They would growl and hissed at these kittens. But lama-lama, mungkin sebab dah biasa, dan bau masing-masing pun dah serasi, Mimi accepted Aboy and Gegerl ( as I called them) and even adopted them. She would let them snuggle up to her when sleeping, and she would also lick these kids for a good grooming time. The boys had a harder time to accept, but the girls took on them and accepted them just as when Mimi started to show some affection to Aboy and Gegerl.

Not long after that, I had to give up Gegerl and Aboy as I needed to surrender them to their adoptive parents, which happens to be my colleague. Memang she wanted to adopt these two after her wedding, so once she was settled, she collected them at the office. It was really hard to let them go as I had grown attached to them too, tapi sebab dah janji dengan orang kan...Janji these two babies are in good hands, dah syukur sangat-sangat. Even now pun kekadang dapat jugak progress report from my colleague ni, she said both of them are growing up to be well, sihat and happy. Alhamdulillah..Tapi tu la, lepas je bagi budak-budak ni kat mak baru dia, terus demam hehehhe...Demam rindu kot...

Anyway Mimi and her kids pun macam biasa je kat rumah. They're very well-fed I reckon, and anybody who's seen them always couldn't believe that these cats are just over a year old. Besar sangat-sangat dah, especially Abang. Mimi pun bulat, so now I need to watch how much she eats.

So that's the (extremely) long story of me, Mimi and her kids, and also, along the way of rescuing a couple of kittens. Pray that I have the resouces to keep them and love them and protect them OK??And please love animals just as you would your own child. If you do have your own pets, please treat them nicely, and be a responsible owner;)