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Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

Where do I begin.

Ok, I’ll start by saying that I haven’t popped 🙂

At week 38 currently, and back home in Malaysia, I am pretty much waiting for D-Day to arrive.

I flew home to Malaysia from Milan on 29th September. And in between shopping for baby stuff and meeting up with friends, I have been pretty darn lazy busy and caught up with stuff to even think about blogging.

Initially, I had half a mind to deliver baby AL in Italy. It took a lot of thinking, hmming, hawwing but I finally decided to have baby in Malaysia. It will be the hub’s family’s first grandchild, and depriving them of the experience got me feeling pretty guilty. Not to mention the fact that I’d have to make a 5 hour journey to Rome to the Malaysian embassy to register baby’s birth. And my lack of confidence in the Italian doctors.

Being home has been great thus far. I feel safe knowing that the hospital where baby AL will be born is only a 3 minute drive away from my house. For those curious to know, I will be delivering at Tropicana Medical Center. And most importantly, I am totally at ease with my gynae. He seems to be patient with my 1001 questions, worries and paranoia. He doesn’t rush through our appointments and takes the time to explain things. As of now, baby AL is in a oblique position, meaning head down, but lying diagonally, and not engaged. Yet. It kinda worries me, but my doctor says to give it some time, up till about Week 42 or till when the placenta starts to lose it’s efficiency. I have conveyed my intention to have a natural birth, and he knows it. I’ve been through a procedure before under general anaesthesia, and I don’t fare well with medication. I was allergic to the anaesthesia that was given to me, developed a keloid on my scar and felt like I’d been hit by a train. I am even allergic to Paracetamol! So yea, still hoping and praying that Baby AL will engage soon.

On other fronts, I have put on 11kgs in total, not too bad I reckon. At our checkup last week, baby is at about 2.5kgs, and doc says since I’m of a petite frame, AL won’t be very big either. I guess that’s good news, hope it facilitates the natural birth that I am so hoping for. I didn’t develop any stretch marks. Right till about 2 days ago, when I saw them blasted lines appearing on my under belly. I thought that I’d be lucky enough to escape them, but nahhh. Deep down, I knew I’d get them, as I already have stretch marks from when I was about 14, but I guess I was just hoooooping I wouldn’t. Oh well.

The hubs arrived in Malaysia (much to my relief!) last week, and although he’s had to work even in Malaysia, I feel safe knowing that he’s around, and can come a-running as soon as I make a phone call. 😛 As of now, I’m staying with my mom as the hospital is close by, but once baby arrives, I will be doing my confinement at my in-laws place. I am, however, more than relieved that my mom-in-law will not make me adhere to the usually very strict rules pertaining to confinement practices. Let’s hope all goes well eh?

Tomorrow, I have another visit with my gynae, it has now become a weekly thing. And on Sunday, the hubs, MIL and I will attend a breastfeeding class conducted by a lactation consultant. Many may think that breastfeeding is a natural thing, and balk at the idea of attending a class for this, but I strongly believe that getting the basics right would eliminate or at least reduce many challenges a breastfeeding mother may experience. And why bring the MIL and Hubs along? Because everyone should know all they can about breastfeeding! I also hope to garner support from them during tough times, and hopefully I will not be hearing remarks like “you’re not producing enough milk!” or “supplement with formula for a chubbier baby!” or “baby needs water” (a breastfed baby does NOT need plain water).

I am now nursing a cold and a nasty cough, and I’m pretty anxious to get well ASAP as I’m gonna need all the energy during delivery. I went out and bought myself a jar of (pricey!!!) manuka honey and hi-potency Vitamin C to combat this darn bug, as these come highly recommended and are, well, the most natural things I can take. No meds for me whenever possible.

While I wait for The Day to arrive, I’m taking it easy, listening to relaxing music, playing with the best little pal I have – my pooch Boo, and uhh, eating 😛 This waiting game is nerve wracking I tell you.

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You know you’re not “blogging regularly” when you forget the password to your own blog! 😛

No excuses this time, as I’m beginning to sound like a broken record.

The hubs is back home in Malaysia with me and now it feels like a Real Holiday. I’ve been pretty busy in the kitchen too 😉

Cake with butter icing & butter cream decorated made by yours truly

Fondant Teddy - totally edible 😉

 

Two tiered fondant cake - far from perfect, I need more practice.

 

And the most labourious product I have produced to date:

MOONCAKES! I am indeed lucky as my mother in law makes really nice mooncakes, and she was willing to teach me. She did mention a couple of times that it’s VERY labourious, and perhaps I wouldn’t be up to it. I guess she doesn’t know how kiasu and willful I can be 😛 If I set my mind on something, I don’t usually give up easily. Unless it involves math

It took me two days to make the mooncakes; one day for the filling, and the next day for the pastry. From henceforth, I will not pooh-pooh or question the high prices of mooncake especially homemade ones since everything is made from scratch without the aid of machinery and does not contain filler ingredients or preservatives.

  

So last Saturday, I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen making the lotus bean paste. Boiling, straining, blending, and the most tedious part, “mixing” / reducing the liquid to form a thick paste. One has to continuously stir over low heat else the paste gets burnt. And thus, I had to slowly stir this……

  

into this….

It took me a good 2.5 hours of non-stop stirring to get the paste to this viscosity. It wasn’t so much the time that was energy sapping, but the fact that the thicker the paste got, the HARDER it was to stir. In the end, I felt I was wrestling a python in the wok.

Mooncake mould

 

Unbaked mooncakes

 

MOONCAKES

 

 

Egg yolk mooncake

 

Not many people know how to make mooncake, and it took my mother in law several years to perfect her mooncake from trial and error, as no one with expertise on mooncakes would readily share their recipe and know how with others, especially since mooncakes is a relatively expensive delicacy. I feel really blessed that I have managed to learn it from her. Now I am bent on making it on my own without my mom-in-law’s help thus I can REALLY say that I MADE MOONCAKE. 😀

My cute mom-in-law wants to learn how to make fruit tarts from me, and I feel rather embarrased, to say the least, that she wants to learn something as simple as that from plain ol’ me 😉

And for those who are wondering, I’m afraid that I won’t be sharing the recipe for the mooncakes out of respect for my mother in law who has worked years to perfect this family recipe. But if any of you are interested in buying homemade, wholesome, made-from-scratch-filling-paste mooncake without preservatives or colouring, you can drop me a line and I’ll let my mom-in-law know. She is based in Klang and makes different type of mooncakes, and if you’re lucky, she’ll sell you some 😉 Let me perfect my own mooncakes, and the next time around, I’ll take orders too 😛

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Is there even such a thing? A hectic holiday? Well that’s how my holiday back in Malaysia is turning out to be! It’s almost the end of January 2011, and it’s only my first blog entry. It’s my own doing really.

I signed up for baking classes and I have classes once a week. On top of that, I have to REPRODUCE the cake that I have learnt at class that week for the following week’s class. In other words, I have homework! I questioned myself loads before signing up for these classes, thinking that I could just learn baking from books. But you see, I’ve always reproduced cakes from recipe books, and somehow they never turned out the way I wanted them to. That’s where the classes come in handy. My teacher teaches from scratch and assumes that her students know nothing. The right way to mix, the right way to fold in ingredients, how to prevent your cakes from becoming dense. Now I finally know the answer to my perennial problem of having a cake with a damp/sticky bottom!

The baking part is actually the easy part. Yup you that read that right. No cake is complete without icing. And THAT my friends, is the difficult part. I thought buttercream icing would be easy peasy. Well it’s not! It takes a LOT of practice. The first time I did my homework, replicating a cake we made at class, I was cursing like a sailor at home and yelling at everyone in sight. Teehee. Then again, I was in a rush, and one should never, ever, decorate cakes in a hurry. But woohoo, the following week, I made a cake which looked LOADS better. It’s all in the practice.

I also signed up for a whole-day hands on puff pastry class. Granted I had to drive to the other end of the world from where I live (fine, it was just Puchong, but DEEP inside Puchong, and it’s under Sepang municipality ok!), I totally enjoyed it! My classmates were all makcik-makcik (elderly ladies) but hey, who cares, I was there to learn. We learnt to make puff pastry from scratch, and I hope I have banished the Demon of the Failed Puff Pastry from my kitchen forever 😛

Dough resting

And thiiiis is how you work it

Beautiful layers of dough + butter = puff pastry

Let's make some little pies

Danish Windmill

Vol Au Vent

Final products - all from scratch!

*BEAMS*

Aren’t they absolutely beeeeyoootiful? I was dead tired from class that day which started at about 10am and lasted till about 6pm. But the end products are absolutely worth it.

Let’s hope I am able to successfully recreate them when I am back in Italy! 😛

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I love being home. The best thing is that it hasn’t been ALL.THAT.HOT. Perhaps it’s due to the monsoon season. The days are balmy, and it tends to rain in the evenings. I love it. The family and I spent Christmas back in Batu Pahat at my uncle’s home. Everytime I see an uncle from my dad’s side, I get a little “jolted” by the similarities between them and my late papa. This time around I saw my eldest uncle, and he looked frail, and my thoughts immediately veered to my father. It’s not like it is a bad thing, I get a little glimpse of papa here and there.

 

Of course, being in Malaysia means EATING. Funnily enough, either my tastebuds have changed, or I’ve just been to all the wrong places. Food doesn’t seem as good. With the exception of  THE Best Soto In The World in Batu Pahat, no other food came close. I swear I must have mumbled OMG Sedap, or OMG damn nice or something else along those lines while I was slurping the soto.

 

I’ll let the pictures do the talking 😉

 

 

Indian Rojak at Kedai Makanan Om, Taman Emas, Batu Pahat. YUMS.

 

 

 

 

Indian mee goreng at Kedai Makanan Om, Taman Emas, Batu Pahat. I used to eat at this then stall (now shop) when it was at Gunung Soga, and it tastes about the same as it used to, except, back then you could find pieces of sotong (squid) in it! Of course, with rising prices these days, I’d be lucky to find any seafood in there.

 

 

 

THE BEST soto in the whole wide world. If you tell me that there’s another place that sells better soto than this, then I say you’re wrong. Soto doesn’t get any better than this. The broth is thick and oh-so-flavourful, and the chunks of beef are tender and just about melts in your mouth. This place also sells lontong and laksa Johor, but since it was only me and my sister eating that day, we couldn’t order lots to share. You can also find other drool worthy Johorean delicacies at this stall called Warung Mat Marican that is just by the roundabout. This stall has earned the moniker BP Hilton due to it’s sometimes higher-than-average prices 😀 But I don’t mind paying a little more, because I’ve never found another place that sells soto, laksa, lontong or tauhu sumbat this drool worthy!

 

 

 

Chili pan mee from Super Kitchen, Kota Damansara. Quite good.

 

 

 

My brother-in-law’s favourite butter & kaya toast from a nondescript kopitiam in Ayer Hitam, Johor.

 

 

 

The shop was almost closed when we got there, but they still served us. Ah, I wonder if these old-style kopitiams will remain for years to come, or will they all turn into those fashionably modern airconditioned, franchised “kopitiams” that try to replicate kopitiams of yore and are a dime a dozen, springing up like mushrooms all over town?

 

 

 

Ayer (Air) Hitam in Johor, haven for house deco items and wedding related paraphernalia.

 

 

For some strange reason, one can also get soft toys in Ayer Hitam for really cheap!

 

 

That would be me pottering about in a nursery. Ahh, I wish I had a landed property with a nice big garden.

 

 

You see that spiky palm tree in the pot? That’s a cycas plant. Papa used to be crazy over this plant. We had loads of them back home in our family house in Batu Pahat. It fetches quite a high price and is supposedly a good-luck plant.

 

 

I was admiring a heliconia plant. I happen to know quite a number of plant names simply because my dad was in this line when he was still alive. In fact, he used to drill the names of plants into us when we were little, and sometimes, we would rattle them off “Hey pa look! Lots of dracaena/lantana/petunias growing here” *smug face*

 

 

 

The family picking out pots and mama getting all wide eyed and excited at the variety of plants. She has such green fingers, just like my dad. Our apartment balcony is filled with plants, and they are all thriving. I even have kaffir lime and cili padi growing healthily!

 

 

 

I absolutely LOVE this plant, water hyacinth or Bunga Kiambang. Aren’t they the prettiest things you have seen?

 

 

 

 

Ok, I don’t know what this flower is called, but it’s so pretty, and has that retro feel about it.

 

And of course, our national flower, the hibiscus.

 

 

So, as you can see, I’m having a pretty good time back home. There truly is no place like home 🙂

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The Surprise Visit

So this was a surprise that was brewing for the past few months.

 

I had already bought my ticket back home to Malaysia for December, but told the family that I’d only be back in February. It caused quite a bit of tantrums I heard 😛 Someone was grumbling that I “didn’t care” and what not, especially since she was getting married, but teehee, I’M HOME in Malaysia now. Turned up at the door, and saw a sick sister’s sleepy eyes go ROUND, and the mom’s jaw dropped, and the other sister was literally at a loss for words for the next 5 minutes or so.

 

And then I got bear hugs from mom and we chatted for a bit and I walloped a Ramly Burger Special even though I wasn’t hungry. Ahhhh, I how I love it. Almost midnight and all the shops were open, everything was abuzz.

 

I am still very jetlagged though. I took a flight from Bologna to Frankfurt, where I had to wait for about 2 hours. And then from Frankfurt to Bangkok, where I had to transit for about 45 minutes, and finally from Bangkok to KL. Boy I’m beat.

 

I’ve got so many things planned, pastry classes, cake deco classes, doctor’s visit, hairdresser’s visit, dentist’s visit. I had wanted to go out and buy me some kaya toast today, but the not so little sister is sick, so I had to cook her some porridge, and made fusili pasta with olives for the other sister for lunch.

 

Dear other sister, please get well soon so we can all go out to eat all that glorious food.

 

Speaking of which, I think I’m getting ill too. My throat is scratchy and my head feels heavy. Please God, don’t let me get sick. Not now. *crosses fingers*

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The hubby had been away for 2 months and he got home last week. He was in Malaysia and Japan for work, and next week he flies to Malaysia for work again. The lucky bugger.

I had emailed my mum a long list of goodies I’d wanted from Malaysia, 90% food related. The hubby kept grumbling saying that my mum had given him A LOT of stuff, but I took it with a huge pinch of salt, as the dear guy has a penchant for getting stressed up easily, him being law-abiding and all that 😉 Actually I can see him getting stressed out already, reading this LOL 😀 He called me from the airport and said that his luggage was overweight by 8kg! He was travelling on Business Class and was entitled to 40kgs, and it ended up being 48kg. Then again, he had some heavy tools too. When the hubby got home and unpacked, I literally burst into a fit of giggles and was giggling away even in the bathroom, with tears literally streaming down my cheeks. So.much.stuff. There was A LOT of goodies, it was better than Christmas, no kidding. The pictures below do not include some nice pajamas, tops, Nose sandals, bag that mum/sister bought.

Malaysian Goodies - Pacific Clams, 2 bottles of acar, Asam!

 

I just love the juxtaposition of the picture above. I was thinking how the placement of the food genuinely reflects the Malaysian me – Malay, Chinese and Indian deep inside. There’s kicap manis, Bah Kut Teh herbs, Kuah Masak Merah, Sambal Tumis, Linghams chili sauce, Ghee Hiang sesame oil, cencalok, and that partly hidden bottle with the blue cap contains……

FRIED BITTERGOURD!!!

Fried bittergourd @ pavaka

 

Boy oh boy do I miss this. I never fail to order it together with banana leaf rice. The hubby has never seen nor tasted this before, so I’m gonna cook some curry tonight and have this. Yums!

I realized that there aren’t any pictures of the leafy goodies my mum gave; pandan, curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves. I’m already thinking of what else to “order” as the hubby leaves for Malaysia again next Monday. Apart from galangal and lemongrass, I can’t quite think of anything else. Hmmm. Must.go.brainstorm now 😛

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Ne…..?

The HB and I had quite a bit of discussion pertaining to recent events happening in Malaysia. Merdeka 2009 didn’t feel very Merdeka-ish to us, especially for the HB.

 

And then I watched this clip after chancing upon it on Pinkpau’s blog. This video cheered me up somewhat. Sigh. Why can’t we be a better, more united, fair nation?

 

Especially loved the ending. Listen carefully 😉 Watch it, it will put a smile on your face  🙂

 

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