Archive for October, 2011

  • Oct
  • 31
  • 2011

nursery 101 | update 1

nursery toddler's bed

This is Aliya’s room/nursery 6 months ago. Since then, we have installed rolled blinds and changed the curtains to a light grey blockout. Her room is still in a work in progress as I haven’t exactly finish what I had originally planned out . For example, this wall next to the toddler bed was supposed to be the feature wall painted in grey. But we didn’t get around to it, I don’t think it will (ever) get painted as she sleeps in this bedroom full time now. So toss away the idea and lets decorate it with something else. I was thinking of an oversized hand painted canvas. Hmm, am I going to get the time to sit and paint it myself? Maybe. Perhaps. Ok, I’ll try. I’ve already bought the canvas (over 3 months ago!) so I just need to find the time and inspiration. Any suggestions? Hubby was saying why not make it an Arabic canvas with Arabic alphabets,  what a brilliant idea!

nursery bedside table nursery chair

Right:  DIY painted bedside table by hubby. White plastic pot and and flowers from Ikea. ‘Aliya’ painted wooden name sign, a sweet gift from CUE Designs and DIY curtains by me!

Left: Vinyl wall decal from eBay. DIY painted rattan hair by me, you can read the post here to see before/after photos!

nursery pendant

After a long and tiring hunt for a nursery pendant lamp, I finally found the perfect one!. This was the second lamp. I originally bought another one but then had to refund it simply because it looked good at the showroom but NOT when it was hung up here. And thank God its one of those DIY, at least I didn’t have to call the sparky*! So it took me another couple of weeks to find this. I should’ve taken a picture of the other one that I returned. Oh well. But isn’t this pretty? Even prettier when lit up!

Stay tune for the next nursery update. Hopefully by then, we can see pictures of her cot/sheets, DIY clock that I recently made for her and her oversized canvas. Oh and her gorgeous white chic wardrobe! And rug!

*sparky is an Australian slang for electrician


  • Oct
  • 28
  • 2011

claypot chicken rice

claypot chicken rice

I remember when I was 11, mum used to take my sis and I to Bangsar food court because they had the yummiest claypot chicken rice. Seriously sizzling. Seriously yum. This is a popular chinese dish served commonly at hawker stalls around Malaysia. The original claypot chicken rice is cooked with chinese sausage and dried salted fish. The version I made did not have both of these, but it still tasted just as good.

claypot chicken rice

The secret about a good claypot chicken rice  is getting the right amount of ginger and soy sauce. Of course the hero of this dish is the smokeyness that comes from cooking it in the claypot itself that you won’t get with any ordinary cooking pot. Claypot gives you that extra flavoursome crust you find at the bottom. Kinda like a paella crust. In which you leave the best for last. My sis and I used to fight for this.  Get a spoon and just go crazy scooping and digging in. That for me my friends, completes my eating experience from this small humble claypot.
claypot chicken rice

So after all the fun comes the ugly part. Washing up. Who likes scrubbing out burnt rice?

RECIPE FOR CLAYPOT CHICKEN RICE
Adapted from Malaysian favourites(cookbook), with slight changes

Serves: 2
Prep time: 15mins
Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients

2 cups rice, soaked (I used basmati)
6 medium chinese mushrooms, sliced (or normal mushrooms)
1 boneless chicken thigh, cut into cubes
8 cloves garlic, finely diced
4 small shallots, finely diced
2inch old ginger, finely diced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
2.5 cups water (to cook rice)
1 cup chicken stock
handful of spring onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp oil


Method

1. Marinate the chicken and mushrooms together with all the sauces.

2. In a rice cooker, cook rice with water. Remove rice when cooked halfway.

3. In a claypot, heat up oil and sautee shallots, garlic and ginger until aromatic.

4. Add in chicken and mushroom pieces and cook for 7 minutes.

5. Add in chicken stock and half cooked rice to the mixture and combine well.  Cover with claypot lid on a low – medium heat for 20 minutes.

6. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Garnish with spring onions and serve immediately.


  • Oct
  • 27
  • 2011

in my deen

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, who said : The messenger of Allah said :

“Part of someone being a good Muslim is leaving alone that of which does not concern him.”

Narrated by Termithi



  • Oct
  • 26
  • 2011

wordless wednesday | trees in our garden

garden


  • Oct
  • 25
  • 2011

chicken and prawn noodle soup

chicken noodle soup

The day before yesterday I got sunburned under the scorching sun at our local Sunday market. It almost hit 30 degrees. Then within a flick of a swith, that all changed. Wave goodbye sun and hello rain! From 30 down to 11, SubhanAllah. So yesterday I had to wear 3 layers of clothing because it was freezing. But why am I acting all surprised? I’ve been living here for the past 10 years. That’s Melbourne! So if you ever want to experience 4 seasons in a day, book your next flight down here!

chicken noodle soup

This is what we usually have on a chilly day. Soup. Chicken noodle soup. A hot bowl of this in your hands on a couch with the family is what I call comfort food. And don’t forget the blanket of course.

chicken noodle soup

Yes I know I’ve been making a lot of easy dishes lately. I don’t exactly want to scare you off Malaysian cooking. Buy hey, if you’re an adventurous cook, why not try my chicken rendang recipe here. You can also make it with beef but let me warn you, be prepared to stay in the kitchen for up to 4 hours! For now, here is the recipe for this amazingly yummy and easy soup.

RECIPE FOR CHICKEN AND PRAWN NOODLE SOUP WITH ASIAN GREENS

Serves: 3
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, quartered into chunks (this will then be shredded to serve)
1/2 kilo chicken neck/bones/carcass (this is only to make stock, will be thrown out)
12 prawns
2 cloves garlic
500g hokkien noodles (egg noodles)
1 bunch of Asian greens, Bok Choy or Choy Sum
2 cup vegetable stock (or 1 veg bullion)
3 cups water (or enough to cover chicken)
3 boiled eggs, halved
10 tofu puffs
1 packet of fish cake, sliced
Handful of bean sprouts
Handful of spring onions, sliced (for garnishing)
3 tsp fried shallots (for garnishing)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 birds eye chilli, cut
Salt and pepper, to taste

To make chicken broth:

1. Marinate the prawns with garlic and set aside.

2. In a stock pot, boil water with the chicken neck/bones along with the chicken breast chunks and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Remove excess chicken foam floating on the surface. Then leave to simmer for 40 minutes covered.

3. In a pan, sautee the marinated garlic prawns until evenly cooked through. Set aside.

4. Blanched noodles in warm water for a couple of minutes and strain. Set aside

5. Throw away chicken neck/bones as well as the 2 garlic cloves from the stock pot and remove the chicken breast pieces to a chopping board. Back to the stock pot; season with salt and pepper and add the cooked prawn pieces and asian greens. Give it a quick stir.

6. Turn off the stove but lid on.

7. In the mean time, slice the chicken breasts into thin long strips and divide them as well as the noodles, tofu puffs, fish cake slices, boiled eggs, bean sprouts, spring onions and fried shallots between 3 bowls.

8. Pour the hot soup and serve immediately. While pouring the soup, divide the poached eggs and prawns evenly between bowls. (Optional: Serve with chilli soy sauce.)

To make chilli soy sauce:

1. In a small serving bowl, combine soy sauce, chilli and sesame oil.

My tip for a tastier soup is to put one teaspoon of fried shallots in the pot just towards the end. It’ll be soggy, but boy, I tell ya…it adds a hint of shalloty flavour that simply bursts in your mouth!

Click ‘Read More’ to print the recipe and leave a comment.


  • Oct
  • 24
  • 2011

rmit | rmitis

RMIT or Monash?

RMIT or Monash?

That was me [thinking] back in 2003 after graduating from High school.

pamphlet islamic design

Interior Design. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It has always been a passion of mine since I was 12. I just needed to choose somewhere that would fulfil my childhood dreams. I crossed out Swinburne Uni. So it left me with either RMIT or Monash.  At Monash, they call it Bachelor of Interior Architecture. Sounds posh. And smart. But its just a name and the structure of the course is very similar to the one offered at RMIT, except they call theirs Bachelor of Interior Design. Monash’s IA has only been around recently whereas the course at RMIT has been around since way before the 80′s. In fact, one of my dad’s friend graduated from ID there and is now a very successful interior designer, and no he is not gay!

pamphlet islamic design

So I chose RMIT for many reasons. 1.-Established for a lot longer. 2- Recognised nationally and internationally. 3- A lot of successful designers graduated from that course. 4- Easy to get to from where we used to live (direct train line) 5-Loved the fact it was right in the heart of Melbourne CBD, so that means a lot of shopping and eating in betweeen classes! Now, when I look back, I loved every single moment even during the bad and ugly. Yes. There were times when I felt like my brains were ripped apart, my eyes became water bags and my body turned into a dead vegetable. That was how the course drained the energy out of me. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it. For those who aren’t familiar with ID, its not what you think it is. Its not about cushions or curtains. Its quite the opposite. Its about spatial architecture and design. Exploring the relationship with its environment/society and how it affects our sensory. They really do squeeze your brain to think outside the context of interior design. The course is heavily theoretical based than a practical one. But urm, if you’re into hands on stuff like colours, furnishings etc…RMIT Tafe offers a Diploma in Interior Decoration. Check ‘em out!

Besides studying, studying and more studying, I had a social life too. It was the beautiful sisters (friends) I had met at RMITIS (RMIT Islamic Society) that changed me into who I am today. I started practising Islam. Not that I wasn’t practising prior to this, but it made me truly understand the beauty of this religion. I even met my husband through the society. So can you see how it has changed my life? Alhamdulillah, to a better one. I am forever grateful to Him.

The prayer room at RMIT became my second home. A place to hang out and to catch up on sleep (from those sleepless nights spent at the lab)! So if you’re at RMIT, join the society! Contribute a little for dawah purposes. Run some activities. We had the best of times during our years spent there. We organised paint ball trips, horse riding, sisters social nights, sisters lectures, games, bbq’s…oh and so many more! One of my small contribution to RMITIS are these pamphlet covers. Now these were from 5 years ago. If you’d like a copy of a current one with colour, IISNA’s pamphlet team (may Allah reward them) have developed their own set of pamphlets, printed and distributed hundreds and thousands world wide. You can check them out here. They have 15 titles so far and counting…

 


  • Oct
  • 22
  • 2011

30 minute chicken curry

chicken curry rendang with roti canai

Making a traditional and authentic chicken curry would simply mean staying in the kitchen for hours, pounding fresh ingredients and so forth. These days, you’ll easily find a lot of the supermarkets selling curry powder and curry paste. But I wouldn’t recommend buying curry powder from your local western supermarket though. Try to get them from any Asian grocery or even at your Indian grocer. There are many types but I only prefer one. Baba’s Meat Curry Powder, made in Malaysia.

When I first got married to my Lebanese husband, my mother in law made a pot of chicken curry (bought locally). The taste? Well, it didn’t come close to a curry. But then again, I can’t blame her. She’s not familiar with Asian cuisine so she and the rest of the family enjoyed it thoroughly. I just ate in silence. One day, I introduced my version of chicken curry using Baba’s and she fell in love. The look on her face was priceless, it was as though she had not tasted good chicken curry in her life.

baba's

There are many types of chicken curry; dry, wet, yellow, red, brown etc. The different variety of curries made by Malay, Indian, Chinese, Indo also slightly differ from one another. This curry here, I would say its a mix between Malay and Indian. Its so yummy and literally done in 30 minutes (if you use small cuts of chicken). I usually make a big pot so I have leftovers. Serve it with some rice, prata (roti) or yellow glutinous rice and there you go,  a meal for the next 3 nights.

 

RECIPE FOR EASY MALAYSIAN CHICKEN CURRY

Serves: 3
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients

1/2 kilo chicken, cut into small pieces (with bones)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 medium tomato, quartered (optional)
1/3 cup coconut milk
2-3 tbsp Baba’s curry powder (I like mine really hot so I use 5 tbsp)
2 cups water
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
4 tbsp oil

Method

1. Heat oil and sautee onions in a medium size pot. Add all the spices and tomato and fry until fragrant for about 5 mins.

2. Add the curry powder, chicken and water and cook on a medium heat for 15 mins.

3. Pour in the coconut milk and stir until well combined.

4. Season well with sugar and salt then simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

5. Serve with rice or pratha(roti/bread).

Click ‘Read More’ below to print the recipe and leave a comment.


  • Oct
  • 21
  • 2011

in my deen | virtues of friday

“Whoever reads Surah al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday), will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next.”

(narrated by al-Bayhaqi & al-Hakim classified as status of Hasan by Ibn Hajar)



  • Oct
  • 19
  • 2011

taking the joy

frame-joy

into a frame!

Chalk is so versatile that you could be so creative with it. Not to mention how cheap they are too. Kids, teachers, artists even the homeless uses chalk! I like it because it gives me the freedom to re-create as many times as I want. Rub, delete, draw.

frame

Chalk and blackboard go hand in hand. But I didn’t want to use any ordinary blackboard, that would be boring. So I paid a visit to the junk yard and got myself this frame. Still wrapped in its own packaging, there was no sign of age or damage. In fact it was brand new but I only paid a few dollars for it, so I couldn’t be any happier. Now I don’t need anymore dark colours in my house, so I hesitated whether I should really paint it or not. And so I did. It turned out fantastic and exactly as what I had in mind. Its now found its place on our mantel piece.

Note: To paint the frame I first had to seal it with a white primer and then my chosen colour. I used Dulux Acrylic ‘Taupe Stone’ as we’ve painted some walls in the house with this colour.



  • Oct
  • 18
  • 2011

spring spaghetti with basil, chilli & garlic

I love this weather. Currently sitting at 24.3 degrees, I couldn’t ask for a better start to a perfect week ahead, inshallah. Inspired by my fresh garden (thanks to hubby!) and the wonderful sunshine we’ve been getting lately, I whipped up this quick meal in no more than 15 minutes. Can I tell you about the flavours? Well they just bursts in your mouth: left, right and centre! Thanks to a few powerful ingredients; garlic, chilli and basil…with a dash of extra virgin olive oil is all you need to turn it into an absolute flavoursome meal. Trust me, its really that good.

organic cooking oil

Ok, lets be honest. I need to give credit to where it all originated from. Secret Recipe. That’s where I first had it (i’ll post a review of this place soon). But for $16.90 a plate, ouch! I seriously felt guilty. Not to my palate but to my husbands pocket. So I decided to try and replicate this and oh la la, what a dish we have here for just under $5 per person. You can substitute prawns with chicken for an even cheaper meal. Hmm, now I really do sound cheap don’t I? yikes!

Slice the vegetables. Slice the garlic. Don’t chop them finely. You want to be able to taste the garlicky flavour.

Sautee the marinated prawns in olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper and chilli flakes.

And you have yourself a winning dish. Say hello to Spring!


RECIPE FOR SPRING SPAGHETTI
Inspired by Secret Recipe’s Thai spaghetti

Serves: 2
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients

2 cups cooked spaghetti
10 prawns (marinate with salt & pepper for an hour)
1 bulb garlic, sliced
1 green capsicum, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 mushrooms, sliced (I didnt have any but if you do,add them)
1 red chilli, cut
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Handful of basil leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp basil infused olive oil
1 tsp chilli oil, for dressing (optional)
100g feta cheese, for dressing (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. In a saucepan, sautee the marinated prawns in olive oil for 2 minutes.

2. Add garlic and stir until prawns are evenly cooked. This should take another 2 minutes.

3. Add all the vegetables and chilli flakes. Season well with salt and pepper.

4. Add pasta to the sauce mixture and pour over with basil infused olive oil. Toss to combine.

5. Finally, topped with some feta cheese and drizzle with some chilli oil.

Click ‘read more’ below to print out the recipe and leave a comment.



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