Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Gearing Up For Raya

Hi everyone

For the past weeks the weather was flip flopping rain and shine and I have contracted a cold and cough. Thank God it is now going off leaving me in a better condition to complete my thirty days of puasa.

Since it is just a week more to go I plan to gear up my activities for the festive baking and to prepare all the necessary ingredients before hand for the cooking that is to be done on the eve of raya. I do not want confusions and hassles at the last moments.

In the final few days of puasa usually things will be running in short supply even the common things like castor sugar and pineapple as every body wants to showcase their pineapple tart comes the raya time.

To avoid disappointments shop early.

Further more the two to three days before raya I have to look after my grandchildren because their schools and kindergarten and transit will be closed but their parents would still be working so to the grandma they will come. The bigger girls can help but I prefer to do work alone when I am hard pressed for time.

The house need to be tidied up, the crockery need to be checked and wiped or wash since it was there stored in the cabinet and not in use since the last hari raya. Everything should be in order as I do not want to be looking for things while preparing the makan table for the guests, twenty or thirty of them, when they come to recite the takbir on the eve. Me and my spouse want this takbir raya every year.

We find that this way having it in our own home the spirit of Aidil Fitri can really be felt.

As for the children I think all their needs for the big day should have been by now provided by their parents and as I said before they have developed their own taste for dressing so I shouldn't interfere in this matter.

Well I am old and  may be outdated I don't understand why these young people nowadays want to have their dress like the tents with  head dress like the nun's. Whereas I as an old women like to see children and teenagers in modern sporty comfortable clothings and smart sassy hairstyles and when the occasion requires they should go with the tradisional baju kurung and a simple selendang. 

Anyway our theme color is light pink this year.

Coming back to talking about baking. Well since my retirement I have up my activity in this. I have been practising and when the occasion arises I take the opportunity to bake for friends and family.

At one time I was really addicted to baking but when seams seemed to be bursting I got to slow down. You see the baker will always have the first bite. Sometimes there is no one to eat the cakes. So I bake I eat and I grow fat.

 Anyway baking simple cakes and cookies is now a breeze, no more throwing away trays of black overbaked cookies. Burnt!. . .and the collasped cakes . . . and angry at myself. You laughed? Hah.

Whatever I must be conscious of my diet in the coming days.

Since my focus is now on the preparations I have less time for the outdoor. But still the other day I waited if I could take some pictures of birds but I only got the butterflies. . . .a gift from nature . . also worth capturing.


Will stop here to make way for baking. Will share it here in future entries.

For those who are in the same situation as me happy baking.

Till then, take care.

Bye . . .


Saturday, 25 June 2016

The #Hawk Came At A Busy Time

Hi again

I have not slept since waking up for my sahur this morning. There's work to be done and time is running short for the big day is approaching fast. Today it is in the third week of Ramadhan. See the moon is past its fullness which was on the fifteenth day. Today its 18th or is it 19th. This morning the weather was so fine the moon was still in full view.

Blue sky 
Fly me to the moon . . , ,
Problem is I do not know what to do first. Haiz .z .z . . this old lady how many umteen years have you gone through the Raya? Procrastination. Wait for the eleventh hour. Must do something for the young people.

In the past preparing for Raya means going shopping for the children. Buy new dresses for the girls. Buy items for the house. Buy "crocodile" T-shirt for hubby, pester the dress maker to custom made daughter's baju kurung, baking cookies baking cakes the ketupat and plus more.

Its all about the family. Not really about me .

I used to work on call on Raya day. But that was ok with me. I felt indespensible ha ha. All energy drained out. But ok. Happy. After all to usher in the raya there must be hustle and bustle. We women take delights in that situation. Ah . . . not to mention the making of lemang. The fire and the heat.

Now life is more quiet. The three girls are big now and they have their own taste in dressing. So I won't shop for their dress now. I'll wait for them to grow older I will shop make up items for them.That is if their mother does not object.

I get a nice feeling buying things for the young people. May be its psychological when I was young and pined for all the girl things, I could never get.

I see that my neighbour has started sprucing up their house and have hung up the decorative lights. The blinking lights evokes the air of festivities and that spurs me to get started on something.

Yeay I change my window dressing.
Leaves on the window
The old one I have used since my son's marriage in 2002 . Calculate how old it is. I love old things. Its still good.  Must learn to bid farewell sometimes.

And I made some cookies for the girls.
Cut out little hearts
Assemble them in baking trays
Sprinkle colored sugar
Baked let cool
Simple sugar cookies
Though occupied more with cooking and housework I still keep my eyes open for birds. And one late evening there was a commotion ouside. In front, across the road in the neighbour's compound the chickens were under attack by this

Its the hawk! Coming for the chicken!
I was in a hurry and simply click the camera. I miss the opportunity. Only the silhouette. The hawk.

Will try to improve my photography.

Got to end here, will be back again soon.

Have a happy time  . . .

Bye . . .

Friday, 24 June 2016

#Kingfisher On the Wire

Hello everybody

As I mentioned in my much earlier post the place where I stay is semi rural. Not so backward and definitely not advanced. As a resident of this area I am still quite satisfied with the basics.

There is no more electricity blackouts like it used to .

The water pressure is good except on weekends and holidays when people swarm all over the district. Ours is a popular holiday destination.

The road is quite ok no more flooding when it rains.

The rubbish collection is regular. The resident themselves actually should be more disciplined.

But sometimes groups of monkeys cross over to this area and raid the garbage bins leaving the rubbish scattered all over.

They destroy mangoes and bananas and whatever trees which are fruiting. They also try to enter the houses.

I have seen them carrying away gardenias. Not flower. Its bread. They must have aquired the taste and like it. Once I lost a loaf of bread to them. And they always want to come for another.

They are so daring. They can even open the slightly opened window wider if you are not careful. The small ones can squeeze through the grill.

Really a nuisance.

Try to chase them away they stare back at you.

And as you enter the road to our group of houses you can see a sign board printed on it sekolah tanpa wire. Don't know what it means but I guess it must be about the internet and broad band and communication connection availability.

No wire. The word is wireless. Wireless. Whatever lah  . . . borrowing my grand kid's words.

The paradox is as you come into the area you will see overhead wires and cables everywhere, all wired up here ha ha.

Sure got a lot of wires here
There is also a communication tower nearby. In my own compound there is a telephone overhead cable running across. The pole is right there beside the gaharu tree which my spouse planted along the fence.

I don't like these cables and wires and I suppose most other people too. They mar the landscape. But then we have come to acccept that as these wires and cables are necessities to our everyday life. Until there comes a time when we can become more advanced to have all these hidden away we got to put up with it for now. I wish at least it could be made neater so as not to be such an eyesore.

But an eyesore or not I have been living here for nearly thirty years. My house is about one kilometre inland from the beach. When driving out from the area approaching the main road you will face the sea and when it is high tide on a sunny day the view is just magnificent.

So never mind the wires. Monkeys and squirrels and birds too would not mind these cables and wires and poles and tower.

Just like this kingfisher . . .

A bird suddently appeared
Trying to ballance on the wire
Looking at the photographer below?
Now comfortably perched
And happily making a call

I hope you like the pictures above. The colors of the plumage blue, turquoise also the colors of the shimmering sea under the afternoon sun. Beautiful.

So friends get unwired ease all tension and be relaxed.

Till next entry,

Bye . . .

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

#Bee-Eater In Rainy Ramadhan

Hi hello happy to be back again

Well now the fasting is into its second half of the month. By now we who are fasting have already acclimatized so to say. The change in eating pattern from normal times would not surprise the body systems anymore. Not like in the beginning when people can get low blood sugar making them feel giddy or they get diarrhea or constipation.

Quite a suffering. But you have to endure.

It is the time to self examine the conduct of our life are we true and live up to the essence of our faith. It is a time to abstain and to self control from wants and desires. I mean self control. Do I need other people to police over me of how I practise my faith. Hah.

A time such as this we can see all the greeds and pretences surface.

To persons like me already old and resigned and don't want much more we just go through the puasa so effortlessly. I mean the ritual part of it. But to take it really up to its highest spiritual level I doubt most of us can.

Hunger pangs not everybody can stand. Those who have medical condition like diabetes its tough on them to fast. And those who have to take medications will have to excuse themselves too and there are many other genuine reasons that give you exemptions. Only you yourself know and you need not broadcast about it. No one else should be bothered and to keypoh about you.

Some people just forced themselves especially very old people though dehydrated and sickly will still want to fast which can be detrimental to their already failing health. No amount of explanations can convince them to skip. Its already deeply embedded in their mind not to miss the points.

To most people especially the women folk its time to bring out the culinary skills in them.

Why I say so? Just go to the food blogs you will find these bloggers will post their scrumptious menu which they prepare for their buka puasa nearly everyday. I admire these people. Rajin sungguh. Go to the popular azlitamasammanis.com and see for yourself. It is good to have some place to refer and give you ideas.

Some will crave for certain dishes and will start hunting for recipes. Some have become confused by the thousands of recipes on the internet. Aiyoh! Just pick one and start cooking!

And its also time to have makan-makan get together with families and friends. To take the opportunity to enjoy the variety of kueh usually only available during puasa month.

Anything wrong with that?

Really the fasting month brings goodwill and cheer.

And since its been raining throughout the days fasting is not so tiring the cool condition really helps. And when it rains in the morning its nice to get back to sleeping. Sorry to all those working people. For them its not a time to laze. A luxury you will only get when you retire.

But getting back to bed is not me. When it rains it is so nice to be awake. And sit in a cosy corner with the ipad. Surf the net and catch up with some reading. There are so much happenings in the country and its good to know though its not so much of a concern to me. Nevertheless some news get me to ponder why should man play god.

Block that off !

Listen to the rain and enjoy the quietness of the house.

When the rain is less intense its nice to go to the outside enjoy the wetness of the surrounding and the cool breeze.
Pearls of raindrops after a down pour hanging down on the fence
Mangoes fresh after the rain 
And when the rain stops and the sun starts to peek through the clouds bringing with it the light . . . its time for some photo shoot . . .who could be my model this time . . .

A lonely figure . . .
Expecting more rain ?
Drying out the feathers
Still look wet
All disheveled
Better to fly to a more sunny place . . .

This time of the year there are less birds showing up. They are there in the trees because I can hear their sounds.

The frequent raining makes the trees shrubs and creepers to grow lush and wild. The luxuriant foliage in the fore ground obstruct the vision. The naked trees are partly covered by creepers. Difficult to sight for birds.

I was lucky to have sighted this bee-eater that morning which perhaps was lost and separated from its friends. I say so because I usually see them in pairs or more. So there some pictures to upload for this entry.

Hope you all like these pictures of the blue-throated bee-eater.

Till next entry . . .relax and be happy.

Bye . . .

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Time To Give


Early morning, very, very early it was quiet except for the sound of rain drops falling on the awning roof.  It was still night. Dark and quiet outside. Even the birds have not woken .

And we were already having a meal. Hah. Still with eyes hardly can open. No I am not complaining.

What is there to complain its my own doing sleeping so late making waking up a burden. I can choose go on sleeping and skip the pre-fasting meal . . .but. . .

Did  I not say that this is a month of love and sacrifice and that being the women of the house seeing everything runs smoothly is a responsibility naturally thrusted upon you. How simple the chore is it is the woman's work.

Yeah she is so efficient she can press the right button of the microwave without even looking at it first. The hand is so automatic it can reach for things in the refrigerator without having to peer into it. The dirty dishes in the sink will clear in no time. That's how programmed she is.

Ok. It doesn't emotionally affect me one bit yes since I work like a robot but sometimes the batteries can get exhausted. Especially in time like this the SG is low ha ha. It has down time.

Do I sound like a hissing pressure cooker which if the vent is removed the steam will shoot up. No I think I am just a mild person may be only like a slow cooker.

But some times it is nobody's to blame you are making yourself tired wanting to do things which are not really necessary for you to do like gardening. Fit to be done by the stronger gender. Ladies should just sit demurely and watch from under the shade.

House garden

Overgrown trees in small area

Or I should let it, the garden, be as it is. Let the trees grow how it is supposed to grow according to nature's way, lush wild and jungly. Why trying to shape it this way and that way, prune here, trim there.

Let it grow bear flowers and fruits.

pomegranate flower

Bright colored pomegranate flower

Leave it for birds to enjoy.

The bird overhead shadowed by lush foliage

And this work of sawing and cutting and pruning have aggravated this pain in my arm. Working in the kitchen and cooking meals have become a drag. I just hope that the seeming lack of enthusiasm in me would not affect others of their spirit in this fasting month.

And if I pop in a pain killer that will settle things. No I will only do that as a last resort. Mean time I just apply the cream or sometimes the special gel plaster. It won't cure but at least there won't be grimaces in my face when I unintentionally reach for or hold things the wrong way that causes pain. Well all these pain is part of being old.

perskindol cool and acustop cataplasma

cream and plaster 

Ah don't be so resigned and negative. . . pains and aches everybody has. Just don't go look for it. So I tell myself if the body is giving signal that everything is not so well don't go and try to be a hercules. Remember that!

Sit at the side line for once and just watch the worlds go by . . .

zebra dove

zebra dove

perch on a mulberry branch

And resting for a while

Like a person thinking and contemplating the next move

Zebra dove

A'ha got the idea . . .

Be good like a dove so calm so peaceful . . .

Bye . . .

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Enjoy Savoury Crawlies While Watching #Magpie-Robin

Hello again

Few days back I went to a shopping mall. It was a week day but the place was quite busy like a Saturday. There were many push cart stalls just being set up along the walkway between the shop lots. Must be in the anticipation of the coming Hari Raya. Though Ramadhan has not begun the spirit is already there.

One of the stalls sells all types of snacks . Snacks always attract me. The muruku and the kerepek and all. But most are fried and look oily. No no. I am now trying to lose weight. If I terlajak eat, all my efforts will come to a naught.

Back home I was still thinking and craving for snacks. Must make it and let it be baked not fried. So here I show my version of baked snack. Its savory and the shape is like some worms so I call it savoury crawlies.

It is so simple to make and using everyday ingredients that we use to have in the house. And the amount used does not warrant it to be so accurately measured. No ISO.

Savoury Crawlies

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup pounded dried shrimps
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp crushed fennel
1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 pips grated garlic
chopped curry leaves
enough water
Mix all the dry ingredient
Rub in butter
Bind with lightly beaten egg
Add enough water to make into a smooth dough

Dough should not be too hard or too soft and not sticky.

savoury crawlies

Take this tool.

Do like this.

savoury snacks
Take a little dough press on the ridged surface
savoury snacks
Slant the tool (mould) at an angle roll the dough forward
savoury snacks
And there you have your crawly
Put on a lined baking pan.

savoury snacks
Before baking
Bake for 10 to 12 mins on 175 degrees C In preheated oven

savoury snack

savoury snacks
And here is the baked snack the savoury crawlies
Let cool, eat.

The snack was not crunchy enough and it turned a little soft too soon. So I put it again to dehydrate it in the oven on low heat for another ten minutes. 

It was Ok more crunchy. I like it so do my family members especially my sister who is very health conscious.

So have fun making the savoury crawlies.

Here are some photos to accompany your snacking. A magpie is having a snack too.

Perch under a shade
With an insect caught between the beaks
It is not swallowing it right away

Magpie- robin
Quite a big insect

We don't have to eat like a bird.

We can eat more but less the fried food.

Stay healthy will stay happy.

Bye . . .