Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lunch At The Park

Did our normal grocery shopping on Saturday and later decided to buy some food and eat our lunch at the park. We went to Valentine's Park in Ilford.

The children were excited, of course. The weather was fine, for spring is here and the flowers are out and in bloom.

The animals were happy to come out to welcome the fine weather too.

We found a really nice and beautiful spot under some large trees by the canal.

The children then had fun chasing the squirrels around the large trees.

But when the squirrels saw the food we had, they became 'friendly' and were even eating out of the children's hands!

An hour later, it was time to go home.

But not before a photo session by the beautiful tulips, of course!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Little Kitchen Apprentice

Yours truly has not been feeling too well due to the rapidly changing weather of late (from sunny to hail and then sleet to warm again!). So, someone volunteered to help with the washing up, armed with an old kitchen towel for an apron...

..only to end up washing just 1 measly plate, and even that, it was still covered in suds!

"That's're FIRED!"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Trip To The Museum

My son has been pestering us to go to the Museum Of Childhood. His school organised a trip for him and his year mates to go there a few weeks ago but I guess he didn't much enjoy it because apparently 2 other schools were also there to visit the museum and it was very chaotic.

Knowing my son who can only take exception for 'noise' when it comes from him or his own brother (my loud voice and all other kids' screams and shouts are just 'too loud' and 'too noisy'), he probably did not enjoy the school trip overly much and thus, the reason for him to pester us about going there again.

And so we did.

As museums go, this one was a little different because it was filled with exhibitions of TOYS. Very old toys and new toys, the old ones as old as from the early 18th century - there may be some that are older, although I did not see any (obviously I didn't actually read each and every label there!) and the new ones are as recent as toys from the recent years, for example, game consoles and Star Wars figurines, arranged neatly in the many glass encasements.

What my sons found really fun however, were the toys and exhibitions that they were able to play with and experience for themselves, instead of merely looking through the glass. From common building blocks and a sand pit in the middle of the top level to more 'scientific and digital' activities like touch sensitive colourful lights and 'drawing' with magnets, there were plenty for them to try for themselves.

The museum was not all perfect, of course - Mr S actually thought that the curator should be sacked! (I was, however, more lenient on the matter). But as usual, there is room for improvement and we thought the large spaces that appeared to be fairly 'empty' on the first floor and the top floor says little to contradict this. Saying that, I'm thinking maybe they need all these empty spaces because of the many, many school children as young as 5 years old that come to visit. I suppose if there were many more 'glass boxes' and the hands-on activities, the kids may get bored or they may over-tire themselves..perhaps?

Mr S and I made our eldest show us the way there - it was easy enough for he has already remembered the correct tube station (Bethnal Green) and he could read the signboards for directions, but we just wanted him to lead us there - it was, after all, a trip made just at his request, so, we felt, a little bit of 'ownership' for him to boost his confidence was appropriate. Thus, we let him be our 'guide' for the day.

Over all it was a great trip for the kids because they get to go on the tube (especially!) which is something we hardly ever do due to the
many, many steps on the stairs and due to the fact that we prefer to go to places that are easier to go to by car, anyway. The children just love to take the tube but hey, travelling with two energetic children on the tube is very tiring, you know!

But with all the fun we had, not just at the museum, but from the moment we stepped outside with the intention to walk to the bus stop, then take the bus and then the tube to get there, it was a very enjoyable trip that was well worth it, indeed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Carrot Cake updated

Tried the whole recipe last week and made 9 carrot cup cakes and one whole cake of a good size with the batter.

Remember when my frosting turned runny on my first try at making carrot cake frosting and I thought it was because I didn't have enough icing sugar? Well, on the second try it came out runny as well even when I made sure to follow the recipe exactly! I was quite depressed because I could not understand the reason for it but my husband pointed out to me that maybe, it is because of the cream cheese I had used - it was a '50% less fat' one. I thought it was quite possible, that - so, on the 3rd try, I used the normal Philadelphia cream cheese one and I found that he was right!

So much for trying to reduce the fat in my cakes.

Anyway, the cup cake idea was brilliant - cooked in circa 18 to 20 minutes - easy to give away and convenient 'to go'. And the taste, to me and Mr S, was fantastic. Will definitely make carrot cup cakes using this recipe again.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Domain Trouble

This blog has been inaccessible for some time now to those who have always used my url. This is because the domain registrar we are currently using;, is in trouble due to a truant CEO.

Apologies and please bear with me while Mr S tries to sort this matter out for me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

All The Best To Me

Forgive me, I am in one of my sullen and sorry moods.

The truth is, I am a jack of all trades. I can do many, many wonderful stuff but unfortunately, not ever good enough to make 'anything' out of them.

For example, I can play the piano but I learnt only until grade 6. I got a first class for beginner's French at university and took Japanese at boarding school for 4 years but until now, I can't speak these languages if my life depended on it. I learnt mandarin while in primary school but was never really serious about it. I write a little, cook a little, even sew a little. The list goes on but why does it have to be 'a little'?

I feel, unlike the cakes that I have baked and displayed in this blog, I myself, am only 'half baked'. I am regretful, you see, and the only thing I can do now is ensure that my children will finish everything they start - unlike me.

But recently, I was informed of a chance to finish one of the things that I have started (none of the above, though - I told you the list goes on!). And after staring at the floor for some time to think it over, I have decided to settle it once and for all.

This will require a lot of sacrifice, determination and will from me. But I really want to finish something in my life, so, I must do this.

I MUST, at least, try to finish this.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

FIVE reasons

Another tag, unexpectedly slapped on my back by blogger cp1. This will undoubtedly be quite boring because there's nothing funny or amusing at all about the reasons why I blog..

1. Initially, I have to admit, it was just for the thrill of getting my writings 'published'. I should think anyone who thinks that he /she can 'write' would have this dream of being a published writer and blogging has provided this 'exposure' of sorts to the dreamer in me. And I still get excited when people comment on my entries - Wow! People actually read the stuff that I write!


2. I hate it when people don't want to share recipes - they just vaguely answer your questions and you 'get it' - they don't want to share. I'm the type who is thick skinned and will ask for recipes and tips about food from anyone whose cooking I have tasted and loved. That's just me. And in return, ask me whatever you like about my food - I will always try to help, if I can. So I blog to share my recipes to the world - albeit they are amateurish and none too perfect at all. But hey, who cares?

3. I live far away from my family, so blogging is the perfect way to update them, especially about the children and about what has been happening to me. There are pictures and stories and thoughts and experiences..hey, blogging is really a cool way to update your friends about everything and anything about you. And especially because I'm so far away, it's really, really nice when my friends and family have blogs too. I cannot stress how comforting it is for me to read my sister's blog and my friends' blogs - because I do miss everyone at home so very much and miss spending time with everyone! Blogging is a way for me to keep in touch.

4. Blogging can also be therapeutic. Sometimes I have thoughts of this and that or I feel angered, amused, annoyed, happy or broody about things and being alone mostly here, I don't have anyone to talk to or to discuss with - most of the time I only have the screen in front of me, and the keyboard in front of it to vent out my thoughts and feelings...

5. Lastly, to show off. Hey, although not all of my cooking turned our well, the ones that do should really go on display. He he he.

No lah, not really.

Cooking all those cakes and dishes that I have made is an achievement for me. I blog them to log them and to share them with my friends, family and the rest of the world. Hey, they've got a big server at so why not upload all those pictures that you would never want to forget? So yes, blogging is also like a memory box for me, to put in all the stuff that I want to remember later, be it how my cooking turned out or my children's antics preserved in digital form, with some notes and stories written along with them, as reminders for me.
Truly, blogging is a real gem for me and I treasure this home of mine in cyberspace.

That's it. With this, I tag new blogger BUNNY to tell me the reasons why she is starting a blog. Don't be cross now...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chocolate Muffins Again!

My sons keep asking for more muffins and I tried this recipe given to me by a friend. These muffins are nice but they're not sweet enough for my sweet tooth, unfortunately. Used the new muffin cups I bought on ebay - muffins turned out nice and big but my sons couldn't even finish one whole muffin because they're just too big for them so I will probably stick with the normal paper cups that I have been using.

Feel really tired now - just finished baking my 3rd carrot cake for the month! Mr S is really addicted to them, I think. He informed me sadly last night just before he retired for the night that he finished the last slice from the last one.

So just had to bake for him another one today.

Have to post this pic for the moment and post the recipe for them soon, inshaAllah.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Scenes From A Book

I received these pictures of an underground vertical cavern that was exposed after an earthquake. I cannot verify these pictures but they remind me of a book I read a long time ago called Nightworld by F. Paul Wilson.

From Amazon (publisher's weekly):

Satan returns to devour the earth and its inhabitants in this strong sequel to Reborn and Reprisal. The devil (Rasalom) has shortened the daylight hours, (if I'm not mistaken, he made the sun rise from the west as well - familiar isn't it?) and let loose a plague of human-eating monsters that prey on New York's populace during the long nights. Whole communities turn on one another; riots break out over food; gangs wage war on the public; and Rasalom grows strong as he feeds on the chaos his creatures have caused. The only one who can stop this horror is Glaeken, an enfeebled old warrior who has battled the demon across time and space. Too weak to fight alone, Glaeken gathers supernatural forces to assist him, among them a boy with mysterious powers, a 150-year-.old witch and a vigilante named Repairman Jack. The death of one of the fighters reveals the overwhelming strength of the satanic forces, who have reserved a particularly gruesome fate for Glaeken. Wilson has written a terrifying horror that is also a solid old-fashioned morality tale.

I still can remember certain details of the book until now, although I read it only once more than 13 years ago.Together with all the fire and brimstone and 'hounds/ creatures of hell' sort of tales told by my eldest sister when I was growing up - no doubt told by her teachers at her sekolah agama - that book left a lasting mark in my brain.

In the book, guess where all those 'human eating monsters' appeared from? That's right. From a large and gaping hole that suddenly appeared in the middle of a park (I think) in New York. And these pictures made me think of the book straight away and wonder what indeed lurks in that gaping and deep hole, which surprisingly looks rather man made, to me.

And together with this piece of news that I read this morning, I can't help feeling helpless and worried about the state of the world, and the impending possibilities..

It's just too scary.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Carrot Cake Craving

I have been fasting for the past 2 days and as usual, when I fast, I get cravings.

I was hankering for some home made carrot cake. No choice - had to make them and it was my first time making one of these.

I have to say the cake turned out really wonderful - although not as thick as I would like it to be. But this is good because we normally end up giving away our 'thick' cakes anyway - because they last for too long otherwise.

The cheese frosting is a little runny. But this is because I had not much icing sugar left and had to use whatever that was available. But it tastes wonderful - more sweet cheese than cheesy sweet, if you know what I mean.

My mother would be proud of me if she tasted this cake.

Wish I could email her a slice.

Added (5/3/07)
I used 2/3 of each ingredient in the recipe below because this recipe is for a 9x13 inch baking tin. But I think it would be fine if you use a 9" tin and also fill a muffin tray to make some carrot cupcakes as well to give away to your in laws or something :)

I used a grater that's not too fine so I just chopped my grated carrots a little bit more to reduce the size of the carrot bits. And then I put them in a sieve and pressed down a little bit to reduce the juice - but I included about 2 Tbs of this juice back inside the cake mixture later.

In the brackets is the amount I used for the cake above.


  • 4 eggs (3)
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (3/4 and a bit more)
  • 1 cup white sugar + 1 cup brown sugar (2/3 each)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1 and 1/4)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1 and 1/3)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (1 and 1/4)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (1 and 1/4)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1-1/4)
  • 3 cups grated carrots (2)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (2/3)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1/3)
  • 225g cream cheese, softened (150g)
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar (2.5)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (3/4)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (2/3)


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in nuts. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped nuts. Frost the cooled cake.

Am I Weird?

The rule of this tagging game is this:

People who are tagged should write a blog post of six weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose six people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

My sister, Ayu, has tagged me so I have to do this....

I'm not weird like you, I told her. She just laughed and said, "Buat je lah.." (Just do it). Hey, that could be my very own brand couldn't it..??)

Buat Je lah..


Ok then..let's get this over with. After thinking for some time, I came out with the list below:

1. When I was young and single, I used to have crushes on boys (nothing weird about that, right?). What's weird is that the moment these boys start to notice my existence, I start to dislike or even hate them and try to avoid, what's up with that????

Unfortunately, I also made my husband go through this confusing and hormonally induced torture....


2. I hate it when people not so younger than me call me 'Kak', especially from my own species. This is because I weirdly feel that the title 'kak' (older sister) imposes a sense of responsibility - makes me feel that I have to act more maturedly than them - when I just want to be at the same level with these people. When women start calling me Kak I*** - I feel forced to act in a different way and I don't like it.

Also might stem from the fact that in my family we never call each other 'kak' or 'adik' - our youngest sister is the only one who calls the other sisters 'kak'...

3. When I used to work a few years ago, I found that I do not find it easy to mingle with women my age (except for those close to me, of course). I don't know why but I find it easier to mingle with women a lot older than me - those in their 40s.

Maybe I'm a 40 year old 'makcik' in a 30 year old..oops! 31 year old body?

4. My eyes water and I feel melancholic every time I listen to the extremely cute and happy song 'Totoro' (currently on the side bar)..I guess this is weird, but the song comes with many happy memories, so maybe it's not THAT weird, huh?

Arghh...I'm struggling here...what else? Hmm...

When I'm in the middle of a good book - I will be so into the characters that I will imagine myself doing things with these characters or doing the things that they do. Also, if I start writing anything while I'm reading a good book written by a good writer with a certain style of writing - I will automatically write in a
style similar to this writer's.

I realised this a long time ago, so before I took my 1119 exam, I reread my favourite young adult fantasy book by John Bellairs, 'The Face In The Frost' because of his writing style - so that I can emulate it in my essays during the exam...

6. Finally, I only cook/ bake/ make things that come recommended to me. I just don't buy a recipe book and try out the recipes. I also prefer to eat at a restaurant/ buy food that was recommended to me.

This is because I am terrified that I may not like the food and it will go to waste - I guess I am not the pioneer sort when it comes to my tastes and tummy..

That's it folks. Since the rule is to tag 6 more people, I now tag Flowerin, Jujuqtpie, M-O-M, Cutipie, Dilla and Noresh.