Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

This will be my last post for 2011. A year filled with a lot of happiness and one very big sadness.

Thank you once again for all your kind words, thoughts and encouragements. I really do appreciate all of them. Even though I haven’t had the opportunity to meet most of you, it means a lot to me to have such a wonderful group of blog readers.

I have arrived safely back in Perth leaving Malaysia with mixed feelings.

I was happy to get on the plane this morning knowing that The Other half and The Little Misses would be waiting for me with open arms full of love. But I was also feeling very sad nak tinggalkan Emak kat kampung.

Bila I keluar rumah pagi tadi nak pergi ke airport, masa salam and peluk Emak, I was wishing that Abah was still there standing next to her for me to peluk and salam as well. Sedih tak terkata Sad smile. Last time we came back to Perth from Msia in October, he was there to hug and salam us with his usual sad face sebab nak berpisah dengan the girls and I. Little did I know that that would be the last time The Little Misses hugged Atuk.

Masa kat Malaysia, I felt like he was still nearby sebab kubur dia tak jauh dari rumah. And bila2 boleh nak pergi lawat kubur dia. And I could see and feel his ‘presence’ everywhere around the house in his kopiah on the sidetable, his shirts and pants that were still hanging on the ironing rack, his shoes and thongs in the shoe cabinet, his very much loved-pagoda singlets buried in the washing pile….

When I was on the plane pagi tadi, I felt like I was leaving him behind even though I know it does not matter where he’s buried, it’s the memories and the prayers that will keep him close to me and alive in my heart.

The rest of us whom he left behind have to keep on living……

And when I arrived back at home, this is the sight that greeted me….

My kebun has turned into a jungle in 10 days!


Everytime I look at the grape vines, I will get a lump in my throat. The grapes were bought by Abah when he came here last year. He wanted us to plant the grapes so we will always have something to remember him by.


The tomato plants are on their last legs. They still produce loads of fruits but they have started to brown off.


Some of the cherry tomatoes.


The basils are growing splendidly as well.


The chillies Smile.


And I found this ‘fruit’ on the pavers underneath the shaded area. This plant grew out of the homemade compost we put on the garden bed. We thought it was a cucumber plant at first but this cucumber doesnt look like the cucumber we normally have. It looks a bit like an apple cucumber but with a darker skin. I guess we just have to wait until it ripens to cut it open to find out what it is eh Smile.



We suddenly have an abundance of eggplants!

The garden was waiting for me and so was the kitchen but I still don’t have the ‘energy’ to cook up a storm….

Maybe I will feel differently tomorrow once I have fully rested and once The Other Half and The Little Misses start pining for my cooking Winking smile.

Have a wonderful 2012 and hoping 2012 will bring a lot of happiness and joy for all of us.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

We are coping

My family and I are so touched by the doas, Al Fatihahs, prayers and thoughts that have been coming our ways since The Other Half put up the sad news on the blog.
Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts. At times I still fervently hope and wish that it's just a bad dream and I will wake up from it. But I know it is not to be so. I have accepted the fact that Abah is not with us anymore but it is difficult to get used to that idea.

 Maybe I should explain what happened to him. He went in for a major surgery, to replace 2 of his valves, to repair 1 valve and to undergo triple bypass. He had valvular heart problems for a long time since he was young due to Rheumatic fever. He had been on medications since 6 years ago. The meds helped at first but since last year, his heart had been getting worse. So, we (the family and the surgeon) decided to operate on him so he could have a better quality of life. He wasnt sick though, he was just a bit weak with breathlessness at times. He could still do all his usual daily routines like going to the Masjid at every solat time, drive around to visit his rellies and friends, take Emak everywhere, go to the shops and a lot of other things. That's why we opted yo have the surgery, so he could do more things with his life like going travelling with Emak, coming to visit us in Perth without me being so worried about his heart all the time, spending more time at the masjid and watch his grandchildren grow up.

 Unfortunately, his heart was too weak to cope with the 8-hour long surgery. His heart started bleeding which couldnt be stopped even after a second surgery to fix the bleeds. It was the worst time in my life when the surgeon came to tell us that there was nothing else they could do except pray for a miracle to happen. And the chance of a miracle happening was very slim. My heart just broke there and then knowing that we were going to lose him.

 The last time we chatted and laughed with him was on Thursday night before the surgery. He seemed so happy being surrounded by his children and grandkids and was even able to skype with The Little Misses and The Other Half. We didnt say our goodbyes then because we were hoping to see him laughing and smiling again post op.

 Unfortunately, that wasn't to be the case. Allah loves him more and he died without regaining consciousness. His bleeding was too severe to be stopped. The surgeons tried everything. We whispered our goodbyes and our heartbreaks to him in between the al Fatihahs and Yaasins recited. I hope he was able to hear my whispered goodbyes and love. I also hope he had forgiven all my wrongdoings from birth till now.

 I am so grateful that I was able to be with him this time. Eventhough it was short but I saw the smiles and the happiness on his face on that Thursday night. I will keep those happy memories alive in my heart. He had been a big part of my life for 41+ years. I was hoping he could have been in it longer.....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sad Day

Dear all, sadly Mynn’s father passed away a short time ago. Though the surgery appeared to be successful unfortunately he did not recover. Please keep him and the family in your thoughts and prayers. We will all remember him with great fondness. He was a quiet, thoughtful and deeply religious man who loved his family dearly. He will be greatly missed.


May Allah have a place for him in Jannah. Al Fatihah.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

I’m leaving….

There won’t be any more gardening posts for the next few weeks until tahun depan…

There will be very infrequent updates in the next 10 days (unless I have wi-fi and I rajin nak update about what’s going on or The Other Half ter rajin nak update for me.)

I will be going back to Malaysia all by myself esok for 10 days. The Other Half and The Little Misses will be left behind to fend for themselves…

Sob sob sob…sedih jugak rasa hati ni even though cuma untuk 10 hari.

Selalunya it’s The Other Half yang pergi outstation terbang ke mana2 tinggalkan we all ber tiga kat rumah for a few days.

Kali ni, it will be me yang tinggalkan diaorang so it feels a bit strange.

I will be going back sebab Abah I will be undergoing a major heart surgery this Friday, insyaAllah. And I want to be there when that happens and also during post-op care.

Sepanjang I kat sini everytime dia sakit masuk hospital, I was never there to lawat dia or to look after him. Luckily I have siblings and in laws who help my Mak to take care of him in his time of need.

This time, I want to be there sebab it’s a major surgery and I can accompany Mak I to look after him during the day when everyone is at work. So, maybe I akan berkampung lah kat IJN tu.

(Luckily lah kan around IJN tu penuh dengan food courts so every break time, bolehlah I sample all the foods sepuas2 nya ikut selera I instead of terpaksa ikut selera The Little Misses or selera The Other Half, hahahaha…)

Lagipun it’s school holidays sekarang ni and Christmas and New Year holidays for The Other Half so dia takde lectures or consulting jobs so he can look after the girls. And The Other Half wants me to go back to be with Abah.

So, the whole day today I’ve been quite busy. The house is dusted and vacuumed and mopped, the toilets and bathrooms scrubbed and cleaned, the outside area is swept, the washings done and folded.

(In 10 days time when I get back, I just hope the house will still be in a clean condition, hehehe.)

The dinner menu for the 10 nights pun I dah written down for them, heeee. The Other Half kata lagi senang dia nak masak dinner this way sebab he doesn’t have to perah otak fikir what to cook every night.

But what I do know is that a lot of the dinners will have chips/ fries in it, hehehe.

(I just hope they remember to eat vegetables though because I didn’t put that down on the menu list.)

He said, “as long as everyone is fed and no one dies of starvation, that’s good enough!Open-mouthed smile.

I think Miss 8 lah yang will suffer lebih2 sebab dia tu kan tekak melayu abis and definitely the Dad won’t be cooking anything Malay, hahahaha……

Semalam pulak I did the shopping to stock up the freezer for easy convenient food like sausage rolls and meat pies and cheesy puffs. Tak lah anyone kebulur for lunch kan Winking smile.

I yang nak naik flight but I jugak yang kena make sure orang yang ditinggal cukup segalanya.

Ciri2 ibu and isteri mithali kah itu? Wahkahkahkahkah…..

(But if you ask The Other Half, he would say itu ciri2 orang yg obsessive yang tak percaya laki dia boleh jaga anak2, heeee Smile with tongue out).

It will be a bit sad sebab I won’t be here untuk our wedding anniversary on Thursday and on Christmas Day.

(Luckily I dah buat trial run masak turkey hari tu kan so boleh lah The Other Half masak turkey for Christmas Dinner nanti.)

Tu yang for the past few days, I masak nasi lemak lah, masak kari lah, masak egg benedict lah….sebab nak kena tinggal kan dia, hikhikhik….

And malam ni I masak pasta pulak. Even though they will be having mac n cheese while I am away, I still masak pasta tonite (sebab I yang nak makan Smile).

I made beef goulash makan dengan fettucine and bread. I loosely followed this recipe. I added sliced carrots, used fresh diced tomatoes and added a bit of sugar and omitted the wine. I was supposed to add cream at the end but I completely forgot. Rasa dia still sedap though Smile.



I definitely will not be eating pasta or any western food (apart from KFC, hehehe) kat Msia nanti!

P/S Can Kak Kasih, Kak Zai, Nora (from the Top 10 members widget), JieJ and Cheq Sue email your addresses to me at by tomorrow. Ada a small token menanti anda berlima, heeeee…..

Monday, 19 December 2011

Bananas and eggs

I was quite busy hari ni with a few errands to do.

Pagi2 lagi Miss 8 and I dah terpacak kat the shopping mall. Kat sini kalau dah nak dekat2 Christmas, the shops will be jam-packed with shoppers by 10 o’clock and a lot of the shoppers will be in a grumpy mood.

(I dont know why but a lot of people get grumpier as Christmas gets nearer. Maybe tension fikir pasal hadiah apa nak beli, berapa dollars nak spend  per gift, nak masak apa for Christmas lunch and dinner, nak jumpa the in-laws and sanak sedara yang menggeramkan jiwa).

So, pukul 9 tadi we all dah sampai kat the shops and by 11.40 we all dah sampai kat rumah balik and all the errands done Smile.

So, tu yang sempat lah nak buat kuih for afternoon tea tadi.

Sekarang kan pisang dah murah bebeno so every time I nampak pisang murah, I surenya akan beli sebab nak melepaskan gian tak dapat beli pisang for nearly a year, hikhikhik.

So, bila dah banyak sangat pisang, banyak lah pisang yg over ranum kat dalam fruit bowl tu.

Jemput2 pisang dah selalu sangat buat semenjak dua menjak ni. Apam pisang I malas sikit nak buat. Banana cakes pun dah selalu buat and takde sape nak makan sangat in this house.

So fikir punya fikir, I pun buat donut pisang.

I takde recipe. I cuma ambik the main ingredients yang I slalu guna untuk buat donuts (minus the egg) and then I campur kan pisang lenyek. So, tadi I campurkan tepung gandum, susu tepung, margarine, salt, sugar, yeast, warm water and pisang lenyek in a big bowl. I agak2 aje the measurement and uli sampai the dough tak lembik sangat. Let it rise until double in size.

Then gelek on a floured surface and tekap dengan acuan donut.

Let it rise for the second time and then goreng dengan api sederhana until golden brown.

I golekkan the donuts in cinnamon sugar (I just used caster raw sugar+cinnamon powder) and siap untuk dihidang.




You can see the brown flecks associated with pisang ranum on the donuts.

Miss 12 loves donuts and when she first bit into it, she said, “it’s got banana in it! Still yummy though.”

Then for dinner, The Other Half kata dah lama sangat dia teringin nak makan eggs benedict so I pun buatkan lah dia tadi poached eggs on toast with hollandaise sauce. I don’t like making this dish because you have to do everything at the same time and to stand at the stove top whisking the sauce and have to make sure everything stays warm and served warm.

Nasib baik The Other Half tolong whisk so boleh lah I buat scrambled eggs on toast for the girls and poached the eggs while he was whisking.



I dont like it that much because I rasa macam too much butter in that sauce (ini pun I dah kurangkan the amount) and too many eggs but The Other Half loves it.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

No more garden photos, only food!

After few days of just gardening updates, I pun dah tak larat tengok garden tu, hehehehe….

I might as well tayang gambar the foods lah pulak kan or else people might think this is a gardening blog pulakkan!

The girls and I went to a pool party at a friend’s house last Friday. Luckily the weather was excellent for them to jump into the pool and for the Mak Mak to borak2 and makan2.

It was as usual a potluck party with the hostess cooking a few things as well.

Some of the spread on that day. Ini pun ada a few people yang belum sampai lagi so memang lagi banyak kuih muih and lauk pauk terhidang once they got there. But masa tu I dah start makan so malas betul nak ambik gambar lagi, hehehe.


I buat pizza for the kids to eat and also serimuka as dessert.



Both very easy to make so tu yang I volunteered nak bawak these things Smile.

Obviously malam tu I tak masak, cuma makan toasts aje while The Other Half makan the stuff yang I tapau kan.

Semalam, The Other Half kata dia teringin sangat nak makan nasi lemak so I pun buatkan dia nasi lemak.


I buat ikan goreng as lauk but the ikan bawal was too big to put on the plate! Heeee…


The sayur terung and okra goreng ni came fresh from the garden. Goreng dgn bawang, bilis and kicap sungguhlah sedapnya Smile.

Then for dinner tadi, I made savoury mince with baked eggs.


I used the banana chillies, tomatoes, fresh oregano leaves, fresh basil leaves and fresh parsley from the garden.

I just diced the onion, garlic, tomatoes and banana chillies tu. Finely sliced the fresh herbs.

Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil until wilted. Add a teaspoon each of cumin powder, coriander powder and paprika and cook for a few more minutes. Add the beef mince and cook until it has turned brown. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock powder, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and let it simmer until all the tomatoes have become mushy and the liquid has reduced to half.

Put the mince mixture in an oven-proof glass dish and break as many eggs as you want on top of it. Bake it in 200°C oven until the egg white is cooked and the yolk is still runny.



Makan dengan home-made parmesan & garlic bread, bean salad and roast potatoes.





I guess when you dip a piece of bread in runny egg, everything else will taste nice too kan Smile.

And then for dessert, we had fresh fruits.



The gorgeous Summer fruits of peaches, plums, cherries, strawberries and figs.


We love figs but they are so difficult to get and so expensive as well. Yang jenis ni we found at the Sunday market tadi for $5/kg saje! So, beria lah we all makan sampai puas tadi, hehehe.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

An update for gardening lovers aje ^___^

I know dah a few days jugak I buat updates yang berkaitan dengan our garden and gardening.

I guess sometimes I malas nak letak entries pasal what I cook for dinner sebab kadang2 I malas nak masak dinner so masak scrambled eggs and toasts aje or maggi goreng aje.

Tu yang nasib baik ada garden so bila I malas masak, boleh tayang gambar garden, hehehe.

And malam ni, I nak buat a special update on one aspect of gardening.

A blogger, AbbotCottage, asked if I can explain to her macam mana nak buat garden bed and the tanah used untuk buat garden bed ni.

We all ada 2 jenis garden beds like I’ve mentioned before, the no-dig garden beds and the normal raised garden beds.

The no-dig garden beds ni basically you can build anywhere, on any types of soil, or rocks or even concrete pavement like what we did. So, kalau rumah you all takde tanah tapi ada laman concrete, still boleh jugak tanam sayur.

If you want to read more about it, ini ada a few links, here, here and here.

The raised garden beds that we have are constructed on tanah. The vege patch yang besar was already here when we bought the house. Then we built another smaller one about a month ago.

And today we (as in The Other Half) built another one along another fence wall. But kali ni the area is much smaller than the second one.

This was what we used (you need) to build a raised garden bed.

1. An area to pun the garden bed.



Kecik aje area ni, about 1.5m X 0.5m. We all ingat cuma nak tanam the pak choys and the bok choys and kangkung kat sini. Vegetables yang takde akar tunjang yg besar.

2. Kayu kayan nak buat garden bed tu. We all guna treated pine palings and jarrah pegs. Make sure kayu yang you guna tu are treated so tak reput bila kena hujan and matahari and tak kena makan anai2.


And don’t forget the drill machine Winking smile.

3. A good-looking man to build it for you while you just sit under the shade and sip icy coke, muahahahaha…



kalau the good-looking man nampak tension aje sebab the screw he used was not drilling correctly, make sure you bagi kata kata perangsang kat tepi tu instead of just sipping icy coke, heeee….



Or you can always bawakkan a glass of icy coke for him to drink sebab tengah2 panas kena buat garden bed kan, hehehehe….

(kalau you all nak hire my man ni boleh aje but labour cost dia sangat lah mahal nya mah, hikhikhik….)

Once it’s done, make sure the good-looking man carries the newly built garden bed to the right place and set it in place nicely.


Set it at the right place and then hammer the jarrah pegs into the ground.



Until the pine paling sits nicely on the ground without any gap.

(sebab this vege bed sangat kecik and rendah, we didn’t bother to put another pine paling on the 4th side yang against the wall tu. Kalau your garden bed besar and tinggi lagi, kenalah letak the wood on the other side as well to avoid the soil causing a lot of pressure on the wall.)

4. The things that go into the bed


The first layer is compost. Selalunya we all guna our own home-made compost tapi we’ve just used our compost the other day so yang dalam compost bin tu tak ready lagi. Kenalah beli compost at the shop.


In goes the first layer.

The second layer is the potting mix. Potting mix ni dah ada wetting agent in it, a bit of fertiliser, tanah.


My tugas cuma meratakan the layers aje Smile.


Make sure you ratakan the mix nicely.

If you takde potting mix, cuma ada tanah aje, after you dah tabur the tanah, boleh lah tabur some fertilisers on it atau Dynamic Lifter to give your soil the extra boost. Kalau takde, just baja tahi ayam pun boleh, hehehe.

Then add the third layer which is mulch. Mulch ni tugas dia untuk retain moisture, keep the weeds from popping up and keeping the soil a bit cool. Mulch ni boleh dapat from many sources. Yang we all guna is from sugar cane. You can use shredded barks, straw/hay, shredded newspaper, grass clippings.


After the mulch has been spread evenly, you can water the garden bed. The Other Half put a bit of fertiliser in the water so it will make the garden bed extra ‘juicy’ for the seedlings Smile.

Then let the garden bed settles down a bit for about a week before you plant anything. But don’t let it get too dry in the meantime though.

So, this is how we built our garden beds. Lain orang maybe lain cara dia but so far this seems to work for us.

And before I lupa, this is the flower (from the previous update) on its plant.


It’s the flower of the mint herbs. Cantik kan rupa dia Smile.