Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Simple Baking Project

Hi friends

Another week has gone by. Time passes us so fast.

Infants have become toddler, the young has grown older but the old have yet to become wiser haha.

Life is a long and sometimes a tired journey. But no.

Still we are not tired of celebrating birthdays year after year because there is always the chocolate and cakes to sweeten, balloons  and ribbons to color and families and friends to cheer.

Life is not that dull at whatever age you are depending on how you color it and that you are not at all time chasing after the rainbows.

People say life is not only to be lived but also to be celebrated.

In the name of celebration aha, last weekend we held a small birthday get-together for our four October-born family members of three generations.

Home made, rugged  
Had an enjoyable family bonding with jokes and laughs and a lot of makan makan . . .

And one cake baked by me for the day was this . . .

Hah a burnt cake?

Hey no! I assure you it is nice.

I confess, that was my first trial.

Actually I have listed this cake recipe in my to do simple baking projects but never get to do it before this. And as usual the recipe is from the internet but I tweak it a little because I don't have some of the ingredients and equipment in my humble kitchen.

You can find this recipe on the internet easily just type Easy Lazy Daisy Cake in your browser and out will come the many recipes. Anyway I put the one from Taste.com down here for you.

Easy Lazy Daisy Cake.

4 eggs

2 cups sugar ( I used a bit less)

2 teaspoon vanilla ( I used pure vanilla powder)

2 cups AP flour ( I used 2 1/4 cups superfine flour)

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter

1 cup milk


1- 1//2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup milk or cream (I used milk)

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut ( I used ordinary fresh  shredded coconut, only the white)

Method (the cake)

1. Melt butter in milk in a small pot over the stove. Put aside. Keep the mixture hot.

2. Beat egg, sugar and vanilla until thick and yellow.

3.Combine flour, baking powder and salt, add to egg mixture

4. Add the hot milk+butter . ( Batter a little fluid)

5. Bake in 13 x 9 inch, 30 - 35 minutes at 350 degrees C.

( I baked for a longer time in a round tin which is smaller in capacity resulting in thicker cake which I think is a mistake, later you will know why)


Melt butter in milk in a pot on the stove. add brown sugar. Stir. Add coconut. Boil for three minutes.

( I put some lemon rind and juice as I thought it can cut off some of the sweetness. As it turned out it was just the right thing to do)


Spread the frosting evenly on hot cake.

If you have a kitchen torch used it to caramelize the frosting. I do not have one so I put the cake again in  the oven under the grill. Be very careful, keep watch. I nearly burn the whole cake in the process ha ha.


As mentioned earlier due to my using a smaller capacity baking tin my cake was thicker. I should have baked it in the bigger tin as stipulated in the recipe so that the cake is flatter.

This was pointed out to me that my cake was a little too thick. There was no more frosting after the first bite haha. Betul juga . . . if you bite from the top the bottom is left without the frosting. To attack from the side you have to open wide your mouth, not okey unless you are eating alone at home hehe. So a flatter cake is more dainty.

It was the coconut frosting that makes the cake taste different from other sponge cake. Every bite then would be heavenly.

I did not have a picture of the cut cake so that you can see the thickness. But you can more or less make out how thick it was as indicated in the last picture.

Egg. sugar ,vanilla 
Flour,baking powder,salt sift into egg mixture
mixture a little thick
Add hot butter milk mixture into flour mixture
The batter, a little fluid
Cook the coconut frosting

Put a little lemon rind and juice into frosting mixture

Spread frosting on hot cake

Set the grill
Put cake under the grill

Don't get it burnt!

The cake is supposed to be served in the baking container. Put the container in decorative perforated tray. If I have some edible flower like the bunga tongkeng , I would put in around in the tray to make it more presentable.

Well friends, I would make this cake again, nice soft and spongy and the caramelized coconut frosting makes it taste special.

I suggest you try it too.

As an after thought; we can also call this cake  kek kelapa hangus?

Happy baking .

Bye . . .

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Sitting On The Rock

The rock by the river solid and steady
Inside is amassed a lot of stories
Inscribed on it words of promise
With the passing of time have become histories

Sitting on the rock by the riverside
 Till the tide was on the ebb
Enjoying a pastime of giggle and talk
Defying the ticking of the clock

The innocence of kids world
Of sweet moments in the smiles show
Reminiscence in a faded photo
Of a time so long ago.

Dedicated to the boy in baju Melayu on his birthday, 26 October.  

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Hi friends

Barely three weeks ago I was fretting over the cempaka tree not showing any sign of blooming though it has grown big and to nearly thirty feet in height. I blogged about it in Speaking To Dear Cempaka here.

Would the tree sense my expectation.

Can it respond to human thoughts and feelings.

Would talking to them cause them to thrive .

I think this is just humor in gardening but I did call out to the tree and sighed at it a few times. . . . Haaaiii bile le kau nak berbunga . . .dah tinggi dah mane bunga nye . . .

Two days back while watering the plants and trees my eyes caught a glimpse of yellow among the cempaka leaves. Even with spectacles on I could not see clearly but I was excitedly hoping it was a flower.

If it really was a flower then it was amazing. The theory works. Talk to the tree!

My zoom camera confirmed it was a flower.

Now can I believe that a tree can respond when we talked to them?

Is there some scientific explanation.

Or is there some mysticism involved?

Is it berhantu ? ha ha hah

Being me, I just say it is just a coincidence.

Try talking to your plants, see if it works . . .

Bye . . .

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Nothing Fishy

Hi friends

I prefer fish to meat ( beef, mutton or chicken).

Protein from fish is considered a better choice, it is supposed to be more healthy. My preference is not because of that. My liking and habit have ingrained in me since very young depending on what mother fed me. Anyway at that time how could I know fish protein was good. Even my late mother wouldn't know. She had us eat fish daily because she herself was a fish lover. Her grandfather and clans were fishermen. But weren't our descendants sea people living by the coasts? That must be it.

Most time through out my life my diet is more fish than meat. Big fish or small fish doesn't matter. The more bony the fish the more I like it. The terubok and the parang both have lots of bones some people don't like them. I find that the more bones the fish has the sweeter is the flesh. May be it is nature's way to protect the species, so that we can't and don't gobble it fast to extinction.

Nowadays fish sold in the market is expensive. Even the humble kembung. The kurau, tenggiri, senangin and even bawal are not everyday food anymore unless you are a deep pocketed person.

And the fish, they are also not very fresh. Sometimes they look okey in the market but by the time you reach home all become lembek.

Is there some fishy thing going on?

You feel cheated. You feel like throwing the whole fish into the longkang.

Sometimes the fish brought back from the market can spark a row in the house. But then how to get a gasping fish in the market nowadays. Just ignore okey , to preserve the harmony. Have ikan bilis instead for a change.

Living in the coastal area we should be able to get easy supply of fresh fish argued a visitor. Yes may be. You can get them in the many restaurants . . . . you got to pay a hefty price to savour them.

Or like my friend, her spouse likes sea fishing and has a boat for the purpose. She gets fresh fish most time. But of course there are problems too. Is it easy to prepare the so many fish in one go or to do the packing and labeling for freezing which can take time. And if she is wanted to tag along and be out at the sea ?  I think she would prefer to play tennis haha.

When I first retired I suggested that instead of having a car why not we have a boat. We could go fishing and have good fish everyday. But then I got to choose if I were to visit my family and kins in the kampung would I be willing to sail north through the Straits of Malacca . . . or walk the length of the North South highway. The sarcasm stopped the suggestion there.

And when I mention about my preference for fish it is the salt water fish. The fresh water ones of course you can get quite easily. The ones cultured and reared, some not all, have strong fish smell. You take it if there is no other choice. They are not cheap either.

In my childhood days we could get the fresh water fish, the type swimming wild in the river or in the sawah bendang. Don't think you still can get them as in the old days. What I hear is most rivers are polluted and padi farmers now use fertilizers which I think are not fish friendly. We don't want contaminated fish.

Or is it better for us to become vegetarian. At this point in time I am not prepared to be one. So it is chicken beef or mutton if I have no fish. Easier still egg is the solution. Whatever we are eating more and more of these meats. Is this one of the reasons for the high cholesterol in my blood?

And then we have to go through the process of stuffing ourselves with supplements to lower the cholesterol numbers again. Also it is not so easy to swallow those big pills which can have fishy aftertaste that possibly cause you to vomit especially if taken at the wrong time, I mean when you forget to take at meal time and later remember to take it when the tummy is empty.

So it looks like if we are to get the good nourishment of fish oil we need to take it in the form of pills since we don't have enough fish in out diet, right? I definitely want to have fish rather than swallowing  the pills.

I long for the old days in my old village when a fairly sized terubok cost only a ringgit. Or at the time when I first  moved to my present locality a fat and a super fresh ikan parang which was nearly four feet long cost only about forty ringgit.

Perhaps now fish is really scarce . But you can still try your luck  . . .

Three in the pail none in the net

So there my friends a fishy story for you to ponder.

Bye till next post.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Till I Get A Second Wind

Its Saturday again but its going to be a quiet one for me. There was no news about the girls coming over though the one week school holiday for the Deepavali has started. Perhaps their parents have no off days or may be they have some other plans. My own girl has her tennis coaching this weekend. And I am not able to enjoy sporting activities with the cronies due to the unwellness.

Few days back malaise swept over me for no apparent reason. It later turned out to be a cold/flu. The virus is always there in the air, I think, ready to pounce on you. You get caught whenever your body resistance is low. When I think back, that was it. I carelessly allowed my body to get chilled after the last Saturday's trial zumba session at the club.

Never let the body get chilled after exercise.

When feeling down like this it gets me thinking of things I miss and should be doing when in the best of wellness and health. But most time we, sorry,  I, blame the weather.

A few posts back I wrote an entry on my side garden. Yes it is messy and has long been neglected. I just keep thinking of an overhaul but never get to do it, well it is, the rain!

Many thoughts are running through the my head in time of inactivity.

The potted plants are to be rearranged, loosen and top up the soil. The plants are all hungry for fertilizer. Don't know when was the last time they were fed. Can't do much to the trees and the bigger plants. Perhaps call somebody to trim and cut off some branches. When will I get it done?

Aha why not I start planting vegetables and more herbs. If I start now I can harvest in three months time and save some marketing money. A retiree need to be prudent. Money is hard to come by and things are getting expensive. Everybody is now whining at the high cost of whatever, not just me.

If I am hard working and clever enough to maximize the use of the compound area I could have free vegetables through out my meals. But then .  . .

The trees we planted are not giving any returns. I wonder when those gaharu trees will give me money hehe. At least enough to pay for my tennis shoes, swim wear or sports bag. Now I have five trees but one is half dead being under attack by the termites.

The five trees are experimental ones, already maybe five years(?) old and they are taller than a two-story house. How much taller will it grow I wonder. We bought about a hundred more gaharu saplings and had them planted on our land in the kampung and  then we dreamed of bundles of notes coming our way hahaha.

The mulberry trees are for birds though I also like a share. Tried making my own jam with the fruits but it was not very successful. It looks like I cannot save on the jam money in fact now I have to pay more for my favorite jam. Now I lessen my jam intake. Don't call me cheapskate. I now strictly watch my diet ok!

I must talk again about the cempaka. The second generation trees. They are yet to flower. If they do it must be abundant because now I have two trees. I should be able to sell it to the man selling scented flowers by the road side. Do I sound like a pokai? If you don't know, pokai means broke.

The dukong tree is occupying extensive air space. Once I talked to cutting  it down when in that very same year soon it fruit a lot. The tree is spared till today. I think I must threaten it again to induce it to fruit. But today my throat is sore, I lost my voice, can't talk much to wake the tree up hmm.

The belimbing tree has been here for so many years already. When its time, and quite often, its fruit come in abundance. But it has limited use. Even the birds shun them, may be too sour. I use some for masak lemak but the rest will drop to the ground and be squished away. However I have tried making it into sandwich filling and I assure you it is nice. The recipe is in my past entry Some Like It Hot. Try it.

The lime plants are quite straggly. I must take note, spruce it when I get well.

I put kafir lime leaves along the window frames to shoo away the house lizards. I see less lizards now but I really don't think it's because of the lime leaves. I have decluttered my house, thrown off lots of useless stuffs. That may be the reason but the lime leaves give fresh aroma to my store and kitchen. So why not continue with the practice of putting the limau purut leaves on the window frames.

The best ever and so useful is the karveppilai but it is always being attacked by the small-waisted slimy black gnat which I really don't know what's the name. The whole bunch of leaves will become crinkled and will look burnt. Time and time again the top of the tree got to be chopped off to let new branches and leaves to grow . I have to get some ashes to sprinkle over the lower branches with the new leaves before it get attacked again.

Looks like I got a lot of work to do . . . yes I will do but wait till I get my second wind . . .

Meantime browse the flowers . . .

Sit back and listen to this song from the youtube .

Monday, 9 October 2017

Way to Happiness

Hi Everyone

I have just finished reading a blog article about ways and how to make yourself happy, satisfied and feel contented with your life.

Not that I am desperately finding a way to happiness that I had to read that article to guide me but then it was worth reading simply because it was there for me to read. And the article mostly concur with the way I think about the state of being happy but I do not totally agree on the ways to seeking happiness it proposes.

I find it can be amusing to add arguments to the idea, agreeing and countering what is put forward by the writer. If I were to have friends here with me surely we would have a lively and humorous discussion that will have us in stitches, knowing there are some jokers among us, and babble away to no end.  Since I don't have anybody to chat and to laugh with so I just quietly write.

The article says some people need considerable material possessions and the presence of other individuals to make them happy which is wrong, though for each person happiness and contentment is subjective.

By right, it says, the power or the will to seek happiness is within oneself and many people overlook that fact. If you know the way you don't need to have much money or need others to help make yourself happy.

The article then goes on to share five ways to finding happiness.

The first is it suggests you to allocate more time to yourself. In short it says in the past you might be bogged down by work and you are also so worried about the future which makes you feel that you have missed on something in life. Try doing what you have never done before like watching the movie alone in an empty cinema (what a weird  person), which can bring forth the feel-good factor in you.

I agree, but not sitting alone in the cinema he he. Experience something out of the ordinary, like joining a fun run, can make your day.

Secondly according to the article is to talk good and praise yourself.

Not to the extent of glorifying yourself, I hope.

It says praise yourself every morning, think about your pluses and also some minus to gauge your self-worth. That way you can improve your self esteem and hence become  more cheerful.

Hey hey hey no. You may terlajak thinking that you are so good and clever and terus become delusional, be very careful . . .

I think the author means that you shouldn't be like a peacock if you are not. Peacock has beautiful feathers so it doesn't matter for it to strut around to show off and be proud and feel good about itself.

I think he means you be honest with yourself just like the kingfisher below, if she feels the blue is beautiful, though  not as beautiful as the peacock's why not spread the wings out and feel good about it too.

The third way is to pamper yourself.  It suggests that you dress up and be smart and polished even though you are not going anywhere or attending any function. Do not be stingy to have yourself pampered at the salon.

Do the dressing up and apply make up everyday so that it can become a habit and you will feel nice about yourself as now you have good image at all times.

Ahh all dressed up and nowhere to go ?. . . What a disappointment.

And for the housewife when all dressed up they are happy to sit pretty only. Why spoil the make up and the nice dress toiling in the kitchen. Pay the amah to do the cleaning and washing up in the kitchen. The husband may not be happy ha ha.

And when the men are smartly dressed up and look handsome . . . your guess is as good as mine. Of course he feels happy getting all the attention . . . ahem.

The article says dressing for yourself ok.

Well back to the article.

The fourth way is give yourself a treat. Eat out at your favorite eatery. When your tummy is happy you are happy too, it says.

I think everyone will agree with this one. The only drawback is that when you are happy you tend to forget the amount of food that goes into your stomach . . . and when it is over you may not feel happy after all . . .

The fifth and the last recommendation given to make you feel happy is that you go on a holiday no matter where the destination. Take a few days be away so that you can be relaxed, mind and body. Do not think that you need many days and a big budget to have a holiday . A short  holiday at  nearby places will save you from spending much and of course from the hassles and haste of travelling far.
Travel far if you have the budget and if you think it can make you happy . . .

(Experienced traveler can identify the famous places pictured below)

But small budget cause less headache and you remain happy longer, right? So consider the the advice in the article that you can opt to go to nearby places for your holiday.

If you insist on going to the first world country you can see happy people but you might not be the happy ones . . . this I say . . .

Go around take pictures and be happy
Feel happy gazing at the moon, just go KLCC at night.
Reading lighthearted material itself can make you happy. But real happiness takes more than that . And whose wise words are these? Shakespeare's ?

"I always feel happy
You know why?
Because I don't expect
anything from anyone!
Expectations always hurt.
Life is short . . .
Be happy . . .
And keep smiling . . .
That's life . . .
Feel it, Live it, Love it and
Enjoy it !"

Cheers . . .

Bye . . .

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A Tree In The Sea

I am a tree at the water edge
My roots hold tight to the cobbled beach
The trunk pushes high with spreading foliage
Which sway and rhyme with the gentle breeze

In solitude here I stay
A stopover for birds in the day
To take a breather and have their say
Then off they go flocking away 

I am a tree and here I grow 
I stand in the way of the water flow
With gentle ripples and the surface shine
Holding onto memories in your mind

The wind blowing
The waves roaring
As the tide is rising
And part of me submerging
In hiding

I am a tree in the sea
When tide is low you will see all of me.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Speaking To Dear Cempaka

Hi everyone

The condition of plants in your garden reflects the kind of care you give them. Sometimes despite the good care the plants still don't grow well . People say to help them thrive you need to talk to them. It is said that since voice is sound it has vibrations. It has effects on the plants.

Have you tried (?) hehe.

I used to laugh at the idea of talking to plants. I don't know whether or not the belief has been proven true. What I know is you got to give what it takes to make them healthy, enough water, sunshine and suitable soil and fertilizer.

We have our own reasons for gardening. Me? I have thoughts of having a garden with healthy flowering  plants, for colors, freshness and scents. Also of course the trees and shrubs can give shade, filter out the dust and noise and to a certain extent protect your privacy.

The interest in gardening can come and go depending on your circle of friends, time and trend or what really you want to fill your life with. To have plants around you can be pleasing, calming and therapeutic.

At one time I had fifty to sixty pots of orchid plants. That was many years ago when I closely befriended an orchid enthusiast who owned quite a big plot of orchid garden. He was actually my  super super duper senior colleague.

Following him to his garden and watching him and his wife harvesting the orchids for cut flowers to be sold at the local market inspired me to have my own collection. But then if you cannot give full attention to care for the plants you can only have pots of orchid leaves. No flowers. My interest soon waned .

If you see the plants in my garden now . . . hmm. . . they are quite pathetic especially in time of less rain and long hot season.

It sure reflects on my haphazard gardening practices. Sometimes I have no time or forget to water or to move the plants to shady place or to sunnier spot accordingly or to loosen up the soil. To be exact, yes, I, most time neglect them.

I give them fertilizer only once in a blue moon but some of the plants and trees thrive on their own and some which looked half dead would revive when the rain comes again. So not to worry. Some patiently give me flowers through out the year though  the plants look pitiful.

See? It must be the good earth . . .

My small compound is crammed with decorative or not so decorative plants and trees. Most are the unfussy type. Once the root system is established they are on their own hehe. They need minimal care. That is why I call these plants unfussy.

Trees? The four gaharus, the mulberry, belimbing besi, dukong and the "twins", they are the cempaka, plus smaller kaffir lime, calamansi, and the over grown and spreading five finger palms, occupy most of the ground. And the keladi and passion fruit plants creeping over the trees make my garden look like a little jungle.

About the cempaka twins. They are off springs, joint at the base which actually is the stump of the mother tree.

The twin cempaka trees in the  centre have grown tall
Originally I bought the cempaka sapling believing that it was of the smaller/dwarf variety. I planted it in a big pot and it was supposed to flower within two to three years. I wanted a scented garden you see. But it was not to be. The plant overgrew the pot and was yellowing due to water logged.

How to fix it? I hammered  the pot. Ganas!

The plant survived. Over the years it grew bigger and taller but still there was no sign of flower.

I did not give a thought of talking it to flower at the time. Instead I took a chopper, made cuts and scores on the trunk. Then I sprayed fertilizer over the cuts. I also spread a full packet of fertilizer around the tree. Then, hope.

Actually the spouse had for a long time wanted to fell it because the cempaka  had become too big and was inclined towards the house. He was overly concerned of the danger it posed whenever there was strong wind. I was definitely against it. You see I wanted a scented garden. So never touch that tree.

Believe me or not the the cempaka flowered at long last. And there it materialized , my scented garden. Beautiful.

Come to think of it, was it because of what I did or was it because the cempaka tree understood my inner feeling. But my common sense tells me that the tree had attained the maturity and was high time for it to flower. It was in fact, not the smaller/dwarf species. It was the giant type.

Sad. The tree had to go and here are some memories . . .

The mother tree 
The scented flower from mother tree

Fruits of the cempaka when fully ripe dispersed little red seeds

Conspicuous yellow
There were a number of new plants sprouting from the stump but I cut them off except the two. And these two have grown very tall now but they are smaller in their circumference compared to the mother tree at this stage.

Surprisingly the spouse is not so concerned anymore the possibility of trees falling over the house. The gaharu trees are now taller and bigger than the the old cempaka tree. He has not mentioned about cutting down the trees.

So my twin cempaka, grow in peace. Bring back the sweet scents to my garden.

I hope the twins are aware of my thoughts. Do you want me to talk to you dear cempaka?

Happy gardening.

Bye . . .