Monday, September 22, 2008

A new toy from a warehouse sale

How'd you feel if you can only bake 10 50-sen size cookies at a time? I would really get impatient. But that's all I could do with a small oven or people may just call it a toaster. And it is not even mine, my sister-in-law lend it to me knowing I love baking more than she does. So when I designed the kitchen cabinet, I lovingly included a cabinet meant for a build-in oven. Not on the floor of course as we have small kids, but the high one.

And it stayed empty for more than two years. Well, for storage I put junks in there. I didn't know that I could be so reluctant to buy, maybe due to the price, or the the thought that I would not be doing that much baking after all.

Until hubby gave me this idea of getting something from a warehouse sale. He wanted a freezer as he believed we needed that more than anything else. I said I wanted a big fridge with a huge freezer as I could bring our small fridge to my office. We just don't have enough space for both.

Not having the experience, I was sceptical about electronic appliances from a warehouse sale. And the first sight that greeted me that day was quite sad. I mean things that are supposed to cost thousands just lying on the floor in torn and dirty polystyrine...some were broken.

I took some time to observe though, and it was just a surprise that without much expectation the two-year wait would finally be over. I saw a family hovering over an oven, I moved closer, I heard they were was a Rubine and it has a dent at the back. The sales man turned to me, we exchanged only a few words and I found myself saying "Yes!". He was surprised with my fast decision and further reduced RM50 off the price.

We also bought a dented 5 liter thermo-pot for RM90, and a deep-fryer for RM150. We didn't get the fridge as nothing suited me. Anyway, I thought it was enough for a day. Hubby sulked as I didn't agree on the freezer.
Now, I have an oven that can take 3 huge baking trays at a time. Once inside the cabinet, the dent is no longer visible. I'm still sceptical of the performance but since it comes with a year-warranty, I just hope it will serve us well. So far it warmed two frozen pizza nicely;).
And more importantly, at RM1050 think I can't complain much, right? The sales guy admitted later that he got the price wrong, it was supposed to be RM1300. He showed me the price tag of another unit that had no taker (as there were no accesories). He got it mixed-up with another model that comes with 5 functions, ours with 7. Well, I guess it was my lucky day.
Not very sure of the price difference of the Rubine but I saw one Elba that I'd been eyeing in the shop, RM1999 went for RM950 at the sale. The freezer, also an Elba went from RM1300 to RM850.
Now time to get huge baking trays before embarking on raya cookies project;).

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's in the bunjut?

A reader asked here what goes into the 'bunjut'. She is in the States and hope to make her own 'bunjut';). I suspected she googled sup bunjut and found my entry;). I was surprised to see that she has a nice and serious (not like mine) foodblog.

Well, as I myself know only roughly what's in there, I opened up one, took pics before and after, and lovingly tied it up back.

So Zarina, here goes...I hope you will read this...

I could see all spices had been coursely grinded

And now all the things inside

Easy, peasy... I'm sure you can find all that.

I know some of the spices come ready to cook in the form of powder but since I cook for kids, I don't want to have the taste to be too strong. And some people also love having some spices outside the 'bunjut'. I also try to avoid this as I love the taste and aroma of them but I would go "Yikes...!" whenever I bite or accidently chew them, especially star anise.

Anyway, good luck Zarina!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm just feeling grateful

[وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاًوَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ]

And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out. And He will provide him from where he never could imagine (taken from here)

And yes, the story has something to do with baklava and it comes in two parts (yeah I'm so in the mood to blog today).

The first part

About 4 years ago, a Jordanian man came to see me in my office and introduced himself as a PhD student from another university. He just got started and didn't know where to start, and was almost clueless about the area that he would work in. He needed help badly. I had just finished mine, then. With a reminder that he must returned my things back, I loaded the car boot with some reading material and let him borrowed for as long as he wanted.

There was a silence from him for about a year before he came to return some of my stuffs. After that he tried to get in touch but we just talked for less than 5 times. Early this year, he showed up, annouced that he would finish the PhD soon and offered to work with me. I was a bit surprised but I didn't take him too seriously. But this guy was persistent, I found myself writing for a proposal to get a grant, we got it and work is going on very well.

He always talks about he could not thank me enough, he told his family about me and once he even said he would find a wife like me. I warned him, he would have a hard time as it was not easy to find my kind...hehe.

He went back to Jordan while waiting for his viva, with the main purpose to find a wife and that after a lot of nudges from his mother. Doing it in traditional way, it is all about family match-making. He finally decided on the 15th girl (I said to him "see, I told you!"). He returned last week with a new bride, two days after their wedding. And I got some goodies from his mum and the wife.

He will officially be a postdoctoral researcher in our department right after he passes the viva.


The second part

(Something I just learned, baklava is actually the one with type called "baloria" or bird's nest, I'm sure you know which as it is obvious. The other type is "asyalasfor". Those from Jordan and Iraq are bigger in size and sweeter, pic above shows the ones from Damascus and Lebanon, smaller and less sweet)

In the goodie parcel among other things, I found some baklava and I almost jumped. Well, think I've tasted them somewhere in Arab restaurant but maybe because I was already full, I never really appreciated the taste. Anyway, even if I have not, I could imagine the is heavenly but I'd been refraining myself from buying as they are just damn too expensive here.

And while he was still in my room, an Iraqi PhD student came in. I'm also currently helping (I use help here, because both are not officially under my supervision) her. Maybe due to the spirit of Ramadhan, she placed a box on my table and said it was something that she really love to have during the month. It's another box of ...yeah, you got it ...baklava!

After two nights of having them, I think I got hooked.

Ok now finally the main point. Rezeki does not necesserily comes in terms of money and material, in my case now a postdoc. that would be working with me, helping me out with the other students etc. He is also a rezeki to me, at the moment when I thought that I had bitten more than I could chew, and when a lot of things just got me overwhelmed. That's what I'd been telling people when I got the most frequently asked question, "How'd you manage?".

I have a endlist list of the things that I'm grateful about: mom and dad are still around (now doing what they love most, umrah in Makkah), understanding and wonderful husband, healthy and beautiful kids, the bestest job in the world, kids school just a stone throw away, so as the babysitter's, the bestest babysitter, friends, my room in the office....and again some baklava for iftar this evening!

Ramadhan Kareem, everyone!