Thursday, March 31, 2011

30th March 2011- Our Mauritian Friends

Boys at Play!
Omar giving cute Gibreel a Goodbye hug.  

We had another farewell get together with another sweet friend. Reshma is from Mauritius and has two cute sons and I've just heard that she is expecting baby No.3. So happy to hear this news  and hoping the very best and a healthy baby for her and InshaAllah we might hear of pink news :) So sad to be leaving all of these wonderful people I have met in Perth, but I am sure we will keep in touch. Reshma knows me so well, she got me this recipe book as a parting gift, I love it because I collect Australian Women's Weekly Recipe Books. Thank you so much.

29th March 2011- Meeting old friends

I met an old friend on Tuesday who had come to attend a course in Perth, she's the best friend of my bestest cousin Huda. Hi Zillah, Hi Huda!  It's always wonderful to meet people you have not met for sooo long and  they are still the same lovely person they were when you left and it's even more wonderful when old time friends remember you and make the effort to catch up, Alhamdullilah for wonderful people on this planet :D. Here's a lovely picture with an Islamic qoutation via Zillah's tumblr blog . It's too beautiful not to share :)

P.S: Thank you Girls for the Books, Omar loves them alot :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

28th March 2011- Say cheese !

 We managed to take some photographs yesterday .All of us together. We have kept each other sane for the past 2 and a half years. This is seriously a wonderful group with NO CRAP except for soiled baby diapers. I am so going to miss that we can talk about anything under the moon and we all get along great. For being there for one another ,I say Hooray ! I am going to miss our get togethers outside of playgroup, our chats, playdates, birthday parties and all the wonderful things we have done together. I wish I could pack all of you to come to Dubai with me.

27th March 2011- Lillies

Just a tip I thought I'd share. I am not particularly a fan of lillies but I work on them often because it seems to be a favourite with many ladies.If you receive lillies as a bouquet, be sure to remove their stamens (which are the brownish looking thing in the middle of an opened flower) by gently plucking them out. They are the huge culprit that causes yellowish staining. The last thing you'd want happen, is finding the stamen fall on a white linen tablecloth or worse yet a wedding dress. That would be a girls worst nightmare! So remember stamens off next time you receive/buy Lillies and if you have cats, just note that the two are a dangerous combination.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

26th March 2011-Cheesy Prata

We love snacking on cheese prata. It's so easy that even this 2 year old has become the expert at making it.
The pictures should pretty much explain how it gets done, we pre-fry one side of a frozen prata before filling it with cheese .We like combining bocconcini and sliced cheddar.
Fold it into a crescent with the uncooked side facing up and continue to fry till golden brown

The cheese should glue the prata dough together.
You can then cut it into triangles.
Melted cheese and prata is just mmmm yumm and mmmmmm takes less than 10 minutes to make.

25th March 2011- Painting

With most of his toys packed away for the big move, we have been doing a lot of 'hands on 'activities together.Painting tops it, give him paper and paint and it's an hour of concentration, mixing colours  together .  Expressing his creativity through colour. By the way he knows a shade of Purple is  called Violet. MashaAllah.This he got from me :D
I painted the girrafe and he added the spots

  An old rug to sit on, a painting smock, a stack load of paper, non toxic paint and a few painting tools is all you need. And remember mess is ok. It sparks creativity afterall.

Friday, March 25, 2011

24th March 2011- National Playgroup week

It was National Playgroup week so our playgroup decided on an event to play dress up. Omar turned up as a Malay warrior and Mummy as the princess. Half way through he ditched his 'songkok' and decided to ride on a horse.

All the little friends had cute costumes on too,I have pictures but will have to ask for permission before I post them up. :) We are so going to miss our Playgroup, as we have grown with all the mummies  and children from when they were born. If you have a little tot and you are not yet enrolled  in playgroup , you should consider it , to find one nearest to your suburb , head to Playgroup WA.

Finding a Halal Product , Superior Gold Smoked Salmon

When you live in a predominantly Western society, you come to the realization of how much for granted you take food in say an Asian or Middle Eastern country being Halal. For those not in the know, Halal food refers to food that has been prepared in an acceptable Islamic manner, this ofcourse includes the prescribed manner of  how animals should be slaughtered in Islam. An in-depth explanation can be found here. We have had to be extremely cautious in choosing what we eat here but the great thing to note is  that many Australian food companies are integrating Halal into their business, which has been such a bonus for us.So how do you know if a product is Halal here?  Well simple, they are given certification by a couple of  trusted Islamic bodies mainly one known as AFIC and you would find the Halal stamp on the product itself. I have found a couple of interesting Halal products and I ought to give credit to the hubby as he is quite the champion when it comes to  flipping through things to see if they have a halal stamp. Now I thought it would be a great idea to start a list of  things I have found in our supermarket shelves that have the Halal stamp.Stay tuned as I continue to discover.

First up:

I know its fish but then again always nice to know that it has been prepared to receive halal endorsement.

I love smoked salmon and I love it on bread with a spread of cream cheese topped with  cucumber pickle.. Mmmmm yumm!

Hope you enjoyed the first post on Finding a Halal Product .

Saying it with Love,

23rd March 2011- Spinach Quiche

Make sure to wash them thoroughly . it's always a case of Peekaboo we are hiding sand!
Here's a recipe for a Spinach quiche that I have experimented with over time.

You'll need:

For the Pastry :
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • An egg yolk
  • A quater cup of milk
  • Pinch of salt
For the Quiche filling:
  • 3 eggs
  • A cup or 2 of chopped spinach
  • A cup of  Fresh milk
  • Half a cup of Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cubes of Kiri cheese cut into smaller cubes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A pinch of Vegetta stock
Form into a ball and cling wrap before refrigerating

You'll then need to:

    • Prepare the pastry first by combining the butter, egg yolk, and salt.
    • Add the  flour and milk and mix it together to form a smooth ball.
    • Wrap the ball dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
    • Roll the dough out to fit your Quiche dish and trim off any excess dough with a knife.
    • Bake blind the pastry case at 190°C for 20 minutes. Just in case you dont know what Blind baking is , Click here
    I like using a ceramic dish as the quiche slips off easier once baked.
    • While the pastry case is baking, you can prepare the filling.
    • Whisk the eggs and mix with the milk.
    • Add both cheeses into the mixture.
    • Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and add vegetta stock ( thats an optional ingredient)
    • Throw in the chopped spinach and gently stir all the ingredients together.
    • Take the pastry case out of the oven after 20 minutes, make sure to remove pie weights and pour in the Quiche filling.
    • Continue to bake for a further 30 minutes.
    • Once baked, let it cool and eat well, Bon Apetite.

    The wonderful thing with quiches is that you can substitute the filling with whatever suits your fancy.For those who dont have the time to make your own pastry, you can easily substitute by buying one of Pampas ready made flans and just add the filling. 

    Saying it with love, 

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    22nd March - Favourite cartoon

    Omar has a favourite cartoon and its called Caillou. Caillou is originally a French character and is based on the story of a 4 year old who faces the trials of growing up.

    Nothing will distract him from watching Caillou, it is even compulsory for Elmo to watch along .Ahhh Caillou I love you too for giving me half an hour of peaceful mummy time.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    21st March 2011- Neighbourly love

    Allah, the Exalted, says:
    "Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess.'' (4:36)
    I have the best next door neighbours Alhamdullilah .They are Afghanis who have been in Australia for the longest time and they are just awesome. We do things like house sit for each other when we go away and they have really been looking out for me since Khalid left. It's always a blessing to have wonderful neighbours isn't it.Oh and the plus is that they make the best Afghani food too. Look what they send over last night . It's a meat dumpling dish served with homemade yoghurt and a tomato gravy . If my memory serves me right I think the correct name for it is Mantu. It's Mmmmm so delish! I will have to get the recipe one day :)

    Best Milk in the world

    Omar loves singing along to this Harvey Fresh ad and what can I say we truly have the best milk here :) It's just not the same anywhere else.

    Click on the link below to watch the ad
    Harvey Fresh Ad

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    18th, 19th and 20th March .Totally Random

    Mugshot of my favourite Balkhi duo
    Todays post is as random as it gets. I have had a crazy week of handling the house. It's been 2 weeks since hubby has left for Dubai so I suppose it's fair to say that I am "manning the fort" on my own. Such is the glory of living abroad. Haha to the Mantra ,KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON , thats been thrown out the window. I am currently on sleep deprived mode. I've had to face some very frustrating moments, because there is so much you can do in a day on your own, add a very interesting 2 year old into the mixture and you are driving yourself  cwazeee. We stick by 'quite' a strict routine here and I am doing the things that Big K usually does like putting Omar to sleep and smart little Omar knows his dad is not around so he takes me for a spin. It  took me two hours to put him to sleep two nights ago.He is usually asleep by 7 chop chop.

    No sleep, Mum No!
    In the past 2 weeks, I've played the role of mummy turned witchy witch disciplinarian ( I usually leave Big K to the disciplining) My son thinks I am actually funny when I'm all stern. I think I have found the Tough Mama I Mean Business personality finally. Being consistent is key which is something I falter at often .I keep reminding myself that there must be consequences for every silly action/ tantrum/misbehaviour. My child health nurse once said to me,"kids grow up quick, before you know it they'll be thirteen so get them in line while you can, if you let them continue with their tantrums or demands when they are 2, good luck to you when it comes to handling a hormonal teenager". Thats just true to ignore.  By the way the prop of choice, to get him to listen to  me is this  mask of a silly man with a big nose, furry brows and a moustache. And magically enough he gets his act together whenever I put this thing on. Call it fright technique but I am in for whatever works right now and a child who listens is top priority!
    A nose job gone wrong!
    Apart from all that craziness, we went to the farmers market on Saturday to pick our fruits. Omar MashaAllah is sometimes I feel literally just on a fruit diet and I have to step in and ration his fruit intake. Its like feeding the animals at the zoo! He's become MashaAllah superbly independent which is really impressive he takes the fruit from the fruit bowl , grabs his plastic knife and chopping board and will cut himself a fruit of choice.
    If Yan can chop so can 'O'
    Today we headed out to UPMARKET with my sister, I am a market sort of girl, I love fleas and crafty markets over malls anytime. I love market culture both as a shopper and seller. I like meeting the people who actually come to craft markets because they are all a bit quirky like me. By the way Upmarket has gorgeous stalls and pretty things for little girls more than little boys .I am so jealous of all the lovely pretty things little girls get to wear like colourful tutus and ballerina shoes. The boys get the mundane khaki shorts and thats it! I take Omar to flea markets and craft markets all the time and I know he gets really bored because he will actually fall asleep from that boredom and this has happened a few times. Hooray for mummy to wander in peace , however manouvering around the market halls with a pram is quite a challenge because it seems like the whole of Perths crafty crowd  is there everytime. But I enjoy it so I do it over and over again. I hope there is a Market culture in Dubai, hopefully within the expat community for handmade things. This is going to be one of the things I will miss most about Perth.
    A clown at upmarket doing his thing.
                               enjoying a  peanut butter cupcake at Upmarket

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    17th March 2011- No grapes, why?

    I have 3 grape plants. I have had one of it for over 5 years and it has not beared anything except for pretty leaves. Recently it looked like it had a surprise in store but the last I checked, it  seems as if the surprise has  made a dissapearing act altogether. No grapes for me, how sad ! I am highly suspicious that these plants are of the warak enab breed :D

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    16th March 2011- Potato Donuts

    I know donuts are a sweet treat in many different cultures. The Malays have a variation called Kuih Keria, and the Kenyans have one called Mandazis. Just recently, I found out that the Italians have a version called Zeppoles. After a little inspiration, I decided to try make some potato donuts myself. Here's the recipe I went with.

    You'll need:
    • 2 cups self raising flour
    • 2 small potatoes (boiled and mashed)
    • 2 teaspoons of dried yeast
    • 2 eggs
    • A cup of caster sugar
    • Half a cup of buter
    • A cup of milk
    • Icing sugar
    • Oil for deep frying ( warning: this is not a healthy recipe)
    You'll then have to:
    • Boil your potatoes and mash them together.
    • Cream your caster sugar and butter in a bowl.
    • Add the potatoes, flour,and yeast  into the creamy mixture.
    • Gradually add the milk and eggs into the centre of the mixture.
    • Fold everything together with a wooden spatula to form a dough.
    • The dough should be soft and elastic.
    • Oil your hands a little and pinch a  little dough to form into small balls.
    • If it gets a little sticky, just rolling the ball in a little flour should smoothen it out.
    • Preheat a pan with oil on medium heat and deep fry the donuts till golden brown.
    • Once cooked, let it cool before rolling into a plate of icing sugar for the oh so yummy factor !

     and then get your taste tester in for a picture.
    Enjoy making your donuts!

    15th March 2011- Mr French toast has orange hair

    Omar is still not liking carrots not steamed nor mashed or raw. I am trying my best to encourage him so I styled Mr French toast with a whip of orange hair. Lets just say, " I succeeded not!"

    14th March 2011- Bouncy Ball

    Bouncy balls are a crazy $2 now, when I was growing up it was 20 cents . I don't actually buy him things from vending machines. I'm sure he has more fun just fiddling with the locks anyway.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    13th March 2011- Pizza chef

    The first thing I remember learning to make at cookery school was a pizza.I was 8. Nothing like a homemade pizza. I have an easy peasy pizza dough recipe to share that parents can make with their little ones.

    You'll need:

    • 2 cups of flour, I like to use self raising flour
    • A sachet of dry yeast
    • A cup of milk
    • A scoop of butter

    You'll then have to :
    • Mix all of the ingredients together
    • Knead into a ball and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
    • Roll out the ball into your desired shape . I like mine a little uneven just because it feels a lot more homemade that way. You could always use a cutter to smooth the edges or shape it however you wish, rectangle or oval.
    • And then put your desired topping, endless choice there. In my case I just get the help of a famous Pizza chef who lives with me to work his magic and go with his fancy chicken and mushroom creation.
    I try to involve Omar in most things I do in the kitchen these days , I just make sure he has washed his hands thoroughly.

    Imperfection is alright, its all about learning.

    He is very serious about being my little Pizza chef.

    Tasting the cheese to make sure its the right kind.

    All sprinkled with Mozarella and ready to be baked.

    At the end he enjoys eating what he has made and I feel satisfied that I have killed two birds with one stone. To teach and to feed :)

    Boun Appetito