Friday, January 28, 2011

pleasure of cooking (III)

Percubaan pertama buat kek chiffon. Bantat!!!! Huwarghhhhh
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

I am blessed!


Praise be to Allah S.W.T for the blessings He showers me for the last 29 years. My life never always sail smoothly, sometimes it has the devastating thunderstorms, but most of the times, it is decorated with colorful rainbow. As today marks my 29th birthday, it reminds me of a long, rough passage that I have taken and an uncertain future that lies ahead. I am hoping to finish the unplanned PhD journey before my age turns to another decade, have a small but happy, amazing family, and take care of two most important persons in my life, whom without them, my dreams remains dreams. Genuinely, I am NOT looking forward to have my professorship before 40, produced hundreds of publications etc. My real ambitions are to provide a shelter for orphanages and travel the world as a volunteer. Yet, Lord, I can't be grateful enough on the life that I have today!

Saya dalam petak kecil, tak tahu berapa tahun yang dulu. Maintain debab :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Makanan orang sakit aka malas di hujung minggu. Spaghetti sup ala campak-campak. Segar dari kuali huk huk (batuk tak elok lagi, siapa ada petua hilangkan batuk n sore throat selain dari makan ubat batuk?)

Selamat berhujung minggu!

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Cari Penyakit


Seminggu nie, saya asek sakit-sakit. Lepas gastric muntah-susu-jadi-taufu-fah, saya dan Imran serentak dua-dua demam. Saya sangat tak suka bila sakit kat US nie. Alasan saya:

1) Kat sini nak recieve treatment mesti ada kad insurance. Bukan sekali dua saya dengar orang lain kata kad insurance yang MOHE kasi kami tu tak berapa nak laku. Kiranya kalau tunjuk kat spital / klinik mau juga depa belek 3-4x sebelum accept reject. Saya tak pernah p spital / klinik selain dari klinik sekolah yang mana charge rawatan akan terus dibilkan ke tuition fees (terus MOHE bayar, saya tak payah pening kepala). Saya dengar macam-macam hal bila nak guna kad insurance tu.

2) Kat sini treatment bil sangatlah mahal. Jumpa doctor lain, beli ubat lain. Ada tempat, buat appointment pon dah kena bayar. Saya tak berapa nak nampak klinik-klinik kecik macam kat Malaysia, yang mana kalau demam, paling mahal charge pon hanya rm30. Tu pon dah campur ubat . Dulu saya cabut wisdom teeth, usd200++ sebatang! Owh ubat cold sore saya, sebiji usd15. Doctor hanya kasi 4 biji, tu pon telan air liur nak bayar usd60! (Nasib baik boleh claim, selalunya 3 bulan, dah 4-5x tanya baru dapat!)

3) Bila sakit-sakit macam demam, saya terpaksa beli ubat kat pharmacy luar macam Walgreen saje. Kiranya saya dah qualifykan diri saya menjadi MD hehehe. Kalau nak p klinik sekolah amek prescription, kena BUAT APPOINTMENT!! Kalau hari tu dah fully booked, tunggulah sampai ada vacancy. Kadang-kadang, demam dah baik pon nak tunggu dapat appointment tu. Kat tempat saya nie, bukan cikai sangat, siap ada research hospital, tapi takkan demam nak p sana?

4) Saya masih tak tahu nak guna kad insurance tu macam mana. Ok, orang insurance kata, kalau orang spital tak percaya authenticity of our insurance card tu, soh orang spital call depa. Tapi masalahnya, hari tu, saya gastrik sampai berguling-guling, muntah hijau dah tengah-tengah malam. Macamana pulak saya nak soh spital tepon agent insurance tu tengah-tengah malam, sedangkan saya pernah call pukul 9 pagi pon tak berangkat lagi. Dan saya tak rasa agent insurance tu servicenya 24/7. Buatnya saya p emergency, insurance takmo bayar, sape nk tanggung usd6k itu?

5) Bila p pharmacy pilih ubat, saya pening kepala. Ada ubat tu, functionnya untuk macam-macam. Untuk batuk, untuk chest, untuk mucus, untuk sakit badan, untuk demam, semua boleh. Tapi, ada ubat batuk yang hanya untuk batuk saja, tak campur sore throat. Kalau saya batuk, makan 3-4 botol pon tak tentu elok lagi, padahal dah pilih strength yang maximum (konon-konon hanya boleh makan sekali tiap 12 jam). Kat Malaysia, makan 2 sudu ubat batuk cap ibu dan anak, sapu vicks kat dada, selubung selimut, tido, bangun nanti terus elok. Tak payah pon kena makan abes sebotol ubat.

6) Tade mama nak layan-layankan waktu sakit, tak boleh order makan sedap-sedap. Tade orang nak picitkan badan yang sakit-sakit hehehehe tu alasan nombor satu sebenarnya hehehe

Thursday, January 20, 2011

comfort food

Bubur nasi with shredded chicken, telur dadar, anchovies n salted egg buat sendiri.

Makan bubur memang senang, tak payah kunyah lama-lama dan boleh terus telan. Masak pun senang. Saya bukan teruja sangat nak makan bubur nie walaupun Cik Lurpak baru tayang kat blognya itu. Dah seminggu saya gastrik dan demam, maka saya tiada pilihan :(
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Till then..


I may have to abandon this blog for a while. New semester officially starts today. Initially I only registered for 3 classes,  2 of them did not make (insufficient number of enrollment) that I was supposed to find for replacements. One of those classes, I was so excited about it that I already bought the textbook a week ago. But then, since the class was canceled, I decided to meet the professor and literally begged him to consider teaching that class as a special topic. He hardly got any chance to say no or even think. Not only that he agreed, but he is willing to file a paperwork to keep the course name instead of the special topic. Hooray!! *Apologize to readers from other countries than US. You guys may find this confuses : class, special topic?*

I am also auditing 3 other classes, and one of them I only knew 5 minutes before the class started. When the professor asked the students for their reason(s) to join that class, I stupidly answered that I was informed 5 minutes ago by my friend that he's taking a good statistic class and I eager to join as well. Everyone burst into laughing. *Well, saya rasa tak kelakar pon. Maybe jawapan itu jujur amat?*

So here goes the list, Geostatistic, Seminar, Soil Pedology, (auditing) Introduction to Soil Science, Experimental Design (second time auditing) and Advanced Statistical Method.  Those will definitely keep me extremely busy for the whole semester. That doesn't count in the research hours yet, and I already signed up for 3 workshops!!

Kiasu betul saya semester nie? Kata plan nak register for climbing wall class kat recreational center? Boleh ke khatam buku soil 900 pages tu before Qualifying Exam? Tapi, saya nak quote kata-kata President of the Graduate Council Students, selagi boleh timba ilmu (especially when they are free) banyak2, sila ambil peluang!! Tiba-tiba aje semangat saya membara!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pleasure of Cooking (part II)


For the last couple of days, I made up for my missed Ramadhan fasting. So BIG excuses to lauk biasa-biasa a.k.a telur goreng or fried rice. On Sunday, I made cod fishcake. I had to mix the flesh with bread crumbs and spring onions and pepper since the frozen version of the cod that I bought at Walmart pretty much resembles the succulent Spongebob Squarepants. I also put some efforts into cooking cheesy wedges, but Lord, the result crushed my appetite! The cheese gravy was watery in spite of a block of cheese that I put in there.

The very next day, I tried to make cream puffs. (I found a very easy and nice recipe from this website). Rasa memang sedap yet mine were  leper and not that fluffy.  So another failure tailing another. (Tu yang always give up malas nak masak!)

This morning, when I cleaned the refrigerator, I found packets of simmer sauce given by my BFF when I went back to Malaysia about two months ago. Since she works at Brahim's, she had given me a big box containing all the Brahim's products (initially I only took 2 packets - adat orang Melayu mesti malu-malu kan - but she insisted I took them all). I never tried any, so I randomly choose a packet labeled " Malaysian Nyonya Sauce".  Cooking has never been easy like this,  I cut and campak chicken and potatoes into the gravy, poured a cup of water, watched TV and came back to check the dish 20 minutes later. When Imran tasted it, he liked it so muchhhhhhhhhh that he asked me where I got the recipe. hehe terpaksa la bocor rahsia, karang dia suruh masak lagi, CONFIRM tak jadi hehe. Next time boleh order package yang ini, senang kerja memasak ku!!

The must try Brahim's Malaysia Nyonya Sauce.
Ada rasa mild curry, ada rasa lemak cili api pekat, masam2. Sangat sedap!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pleasure of cooking (and eating!)

When I arrived this part of the world 2 and half years ago, I have a policy, "tak masak, tak dapat makan" since there is no halal restaurant around. I was half vegetarian and half seafood-tarian for a quite a while, until Imran joined me a year later. We then drove to and fro the nearest city, Dallas, which located about 6 hours of driving (bear in mind, Texas is about 4x larger than Malaysia) to get our halal meat supply. Occasionally, we ate at Chinese buffet until I forbid myself to go there anymore. Not until a year later when a Pakistani opened a groceries store with halal meat supply.

It is not that I am not into cooking, but I do prefer house chores. It gives me such a headache to think about what to cook, and importantly, what not to. I consider my other half as a picky eater. He is totally against seafood because of their hard shells and bones, so he eats only fish cakes, prawn balls,  squid / calamari or filleted tilapia. Whenever I cook my favorites: asam pedas with a lot of daun kesum or masak lemak cili api with salted fish and pineapple or pre-grilled chicken and potatoes, I have to fry sunny side eggs for him. He won't even eat the dishes if I replaced the ingredients with his favorite proteins.  He has fried foods on top of his list, from fried chicken, fried crispy sliced beef, battered squid or oyster mushroom, or anything with tempura flour. I am lazy enough to cook separate dishes for lunch and dinner, so there is no way that I will cook separate dishes every time he refused to eat my favorites. Consequently, I end up cooking the same dishes that suit both of our appetites, all over again: fried rice, stir fry vegetables with scrambles eggs, nasi lemak, beef or lamb rendang, beef / chicken goreng kunyit WITHOUT vegetables. He loves neither mee bandung nor mee rebus, so my only option is mee goreng basah or bihun sup.He dislikes any kuih talam or karipap or bubur kacang, but he likes anything extra-sweet like jelly or kaswi without grated coconut.

As oppose to him, I was born in a state where food selections are varied enough to eat different food each mealtime, for at least a month. I hardly ate at kedai tomyam until I was in my degree years. My late grandmom was indeed a good cook, and Lord, I miss her serunding kelapa with beef bits, botok-botok ikan, urap pucuk ubi, asam tumis sayur keladi and sipu sedut, sambal goreng jawa and off course, her best-in-the-world nasi ambeng. During hari raya, we ate ketupat with ayam masak kicap instead of rendang, kuah lodeh and nasi beriani. When my dad slaughtered cows during raya Qurban, we would request the satay usus susu (yes, you heard it right). My dad said it is pretty tricky to get that usus susu, and not many people know how to do that. Silap hari, dapat benda lain hehe. He then marinated that long usus,weaved it to a cleaned coconut frond (bukan lidi tau) and grilled it like one cooks lemang. It tasted creamy and off course fatty. Bila makan, penuh lemak-lemak kat mulut hehehe. But that was really yummy!! Sometimes when my dad went hunting, he would bring back napuh or deer or birds. He often brought back ikan sungai like patin, tapah and belut (bukan bela kolam punya). Good gracious, I miss those foods! I hardly recalled when was the last time I had them.

 Botok-botok ikan, image googled. Dah cuba search for the satay usus susu, but I guess no one else besides of our family eats it hahaha.

When I stayed with my aunt, she made kuih for me on daily basis. I still remember, she was complaining to her friend that she was still making karipap for me even when she was sick, because I would throw my tantrum- mengaruk menghempas diri ke lantai if I didn't get to eat her kuih. I was only like 6 years young that time, hahaha! No wonder people around me nicknamed me as FaraDebab!

Well, for today, we are having (again) fried rice with sambal tumis telur. Sudah, jangan nak berangan banyak-banyak pasal makanan, p buat kerja sana!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Those bitter memories


I wonder how many of us spare a tiny bit space in our memory to remember our kindergarten years. Well, I did. In fact, I attended two years of kindergarten. The first year was bitter but the next one was pretty joyful. My dad sent me to Tadika Kemas when I was five. At that age, getting free kuih during brunch, coloring pages, singing lullaby songs were very exciting. It seemed that it was not only me who enjoyed being there. Two kerek girls did too, since they had someone in their hands to bully. They loved to pinch me so hard that I always ended up crying quietly somewhere in the tadika. I finally decided to tell my teacher, (I still remember her name, Cikgu Sharifah) since those girls (one is a daughter to an MA, another belongs to a director in a government agency) always sought for opportunities to be next to me. She listened to me every time I told her, but in one day, something unexpected happened. When my dad picked me up, he met up with the teacher. Well, guess what. She told my dad that I always made up stories and suka mengadu. I felt betrayed, and the next thing I remember was I refused to attend the tadika anymore. My mom took over the teaching job at home.

Unfortunately, couple years later, I heard a same version of the story. My friend was sexually harassed by her step uncle. I was big enough to understand the meaning of that phrase, so I asked her why she must sealed her lips so tight.  Just break the news! She said that no one would believe her, even at this high school age. Her scary, an Oscar winner step mum that you saw in the Cinderella movie, would definitely point back the accusation to her.  Just like what happened to me, but a lot more worse. Anytime I read in the newspapers about sexual harassment on underage girls, I  could easily digest their feeling. Is it really hard to believe any words coming out from a little girl?

Yes, I admit that I hate those able-to-listen-but-pretending-to-be-deaf adults. No judgment there, please. It happened to me once, happened to my friend as well, and perhaps many others. Well, experiences are the best teacher.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apabila berlari tidak cukup tanah


Anda pernah tak dengar peribahasa di atas? Tak pernah? Sila-sila lah tanya dengan orang Johor sebab saya rasa saya belajar peribahasa ini waktu saya kanak-kanak dulu. Maksudnya, terlalu sedikit masa untuk selesaikan kerja yang terlalu banyak!!

Kali ini saya tetap update blog ini walaupun saya sudah rajin membuat kerja sekolah. Selepas 8 hari on the road sibuk bercuti-cuti Amerika, saya sekarang terpaksa pulun kerja-kerja untuk conference February nanti. Semester akan bermula semula pada 11 January. 10 January saya kena bersiap untuk orientation day kat department saya (siapa suruh BFF dengan Presiden kelab, kan dah terpaksa jadi AJK!!) maka saya tak banyak masa untuk assemble slides! Kepala saya sudah serabut untuk pilih beratus-ratus graphs!

Mama saya sibuk suruh upload gambar-gambar bercuti. Kalaulah dia tahu anak daranya (kalau anak perempuan dah kawen nak panggil apa ya?)  sudah siap2 masak seperiuk rendang sebagai lauk seminggu, pasti mama saya tak bising-bising tanyakan tentang gambar. Tunggulah nanti mama, akhir-akhir semester saya upload ya hahahaha

Ini pengajaran kepada saya: selepas musim kemalasan + bercuti panjang, terpaksa bertungkus-lumus, lain kali jangan buat kerja last minute!! Owh alamak, boleh tak belum lagi register untuk conference & hotel??

Gambar depan shuttlecock gergasi kat Kansas City dengan Malaysian families yang super cool!! Ini saje gambar yang saya ada dalam camera saya, yang lain dalam camera Imran. Reason: Bila sua camera DSLR Imran kat orang lain, gambar selalu jadi kontot, terkerat sana sini :( Kalau nak minta orang lain ambilkan gambar, make sure anda guna compact camera!!