Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cook With Nenek

My maternal grandmother has a very special prawn dish. So special that she made us waited for one whole year till the next Hari Raya Aidilfitri for us to have it again.

When I say, special, I really mean it.  I have not come across that dish anywhere else.  Worse, I don’t even know what the dish is called, so it was difficult to describe it to someone. For sure, it was one-of-a-kind.

We were hoping at 86 years old, she might be a bit lenient thus we rushed to her house to indulge in her prawn dish on last Hari Raya Aidiladha.  We were already salivating and imagining a bowl full of succulent prawns with fluffy nasi himpit, spicy rendang ayam and kuah kacang.  We just could not wait to reach Nenek’s house. 

Much to our disappointment, Nenek kept her prawn dish as ‘Exclusive’ and ‘Limited Edition’. 

Nenek has been reminding us, the kitchen-novices, to learn how to cook that prawn dish.  She worried the recipe will die off (along with her, a scary thing to think of) and her grandchildren may possibly fed on BigMac on Hari Raya.  The thought of fast food instead of Nenek’s prawn dish was too much to bear. 

I personally called up Nenek if she’s willing to spend the long weekend at our home for some cooking lessons.  That generation rarely welcome sleepover at someone’s place, so when Nenek said YES, we jumped in joy !

It must have been at least 20 years since my last grocery shopping with Nenek.  We often stayed at her house during school holidays and tagged along to her shopping excursions.  Thus, it was a bit nostalgic that this time I paid for her stuff instead.  The good old days when we just threw anything in her shopping cart….

Writing is overated these days, so I documented the recipe in my Instagram.  Do let me know if you are curious and adventurous to try it out.

We learnt a few tips and tricks along the way, besides reminiscing memories of my late Atuk.  The prawn dish took ages to cook, I don’t know if I have the patience to do it again.  That excludes the ingredients prep – the homemade dried cilli paste, grinding of shallots and whatnots.  If not for the maids doing the ‘dirty job’, we would have our lunch at midnight !

It was indeed a memorable weekend. Definitely not the last cooking class, as we had more dishes to learn…

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rafiq Turned 4 Years Old

My 3rd child, Rafiq, celebrated his 4th birthday this month.

When I looked at his face, it reminded me that God has answered my prayer that night.

He was born amidst whirlwind of events, a concoction of emotions.  At that time I felt bad he came into this world with negative vibes surrounded him.  In hindsight, God sent my little boy to comfort me, and as his name in Arabic, he is indeed a ‘friend’ who will be by my side.

Melancholia aside, frankly, I just cannot get enough of him.  He can be angry at something/someone and still looks adorable with his sulky face and a set of dimples. I often teased him whenever he was upset over something and on the verge of tantrums, that I love him even more when he is annoyed.  He then will cool down just to prove to me he is not cute all the time haha.

His brother Razin, an introvert, "Why Rafiq talks all the time?" Rafiq is the kind that gets into the car and starts a small talk with you till you reach the destination. 

He also has quick answer to everything, which just amazed me.  If he couldn't come up with logical, or a possible reply, he will respond with a witty one.

Like his sister Rizqin, he is an observer and receptive to new adventures.  I remembered last year when he insisted to ride on a junior rollercoaster, Enchanted Airways at Universal Studio Singapore.  I told him rollercoaster ride is super fast and scary.  I was hoping his height didn’t make the cut, but he came back jumping in joy as the attendant let him in.  Gosh, this boy has no idea what a rollercoaster is !  

I decided to sit with him. He was still clueless as the rollercoaster climbed the tracks.  The moment, it went downhill, I could see his eyes gleamed with fear, his hands gripping the handle tightly.  I guess, I made it worse by proclaiming I was terrified too haha.

When the ride ended, I was worried if that experience would be traumatic for him.  Well, he asked to ride again instead !!!  He has been a fun ride junkie ever since.

Rafiq is a funny person and doesn’t mind making fool of himself.  He is fun to be with and just full of laughter.  Whenever he feels I have not hug him in awhile, he would request for a ‘kepit’, where I would snug him tight with my legs.  Sometimes, I wish I had his easygoing personality !

So for his 4th birthday, I told him, “I already bought you a pricey bicycle recently, so no more presents this year okay?”  He nodded to my proposition. My pockets smiled.

“But Mummy, a cake is not a present, so I need a cake !”.

“Fair enough, Rafiq. You will get a cake.”

“The bicycle is a present.  How about my reward? Present and reward are not the same !”.  That is cunning.

“Why do you need a reward? What good things have you done?”

“A reward for my birthday?” Clever.

His uncles and aunties also had prepared to dent their wallets, but Rafiq nonchalantly told them, “I got everything.  I don’t need presents”.



Like I always told him, “You are sweet like a lollipop, Rafiq”.  He will reply, “No, I am cool like ice-creams, Mummy!”.

So Happy, Happy Birthday Rafiq ! I pray you will keep your charms along the way because it will bring you to greater heights.

Hugs and kisses.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tresure Every Moment

Rizqin has started new school-year today.  I am pretty sure she is all excited to see her friends again after two bored months at home, either watching re-runs of Peppa Pig or picking a fight with Rafiq.  I feel bad her days were occupied with non-educational things, but sending her to summer classes also will create logistics headache.  So I guess, it was a good thing she knows what ‘boredom’ means, that she will appreciate ‘school days’ better ! #excuses

So this morning, I’m back with the routine of two school kids.  I stole additional 15 minutes of sleep, only woke Rizqin up at 6am.  I totally forgot my princess used to take long shower, sometimes standing still under the running water for a good 10 minutes.  Thus, Razin was left with merely 10 minutes to get ready, and he is excellent at it, thank God.

Transporter was extra efficient today, both Razin and Rizqin were practically munching their toasts while putting on their shoes.  I asked them to hurry, while secretly vowed to sleep earlier tonight, no Netflix.

Rizqin didn’t even request me to accompany her on her 1st day of Year 2.  That is a big deal to me – she is just 6 years old going to a huge school ! I have seen parents filling up the college application form while their child sitting at the back with phones.  Duh, as much as I want them to feel I am there whenever they need me, I also want them to be independent and find ways to maneuver around their lives.

I didn’t tell Rizqin that I went to school much later that morning to have a peek on her (through the class window).  She looked settled and her locker already filled with books. 

Later in the afternoon, the teacher sent a class photo.
Can’t help but beaming in pride, and at the same time, gosh, how time flies !

When did she grow? 

Reminder to myself : TREASURE EVERY MOMENT.