Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alhamdulillah for a Good Year!

Anything that happens, its by the will of Allah. We say "Alhamdulillah" when something good happens to us and also " Alhamdulillah" and still be thankful even when we face difficulty and hardship in our journey through life.

Book Finally Ready

Alhamdulillah! My book "The Beauty of Covering Up" was finally completed, published and enjoyed people, friends and strangers. Sometimes the people you would least expect would want to purchase a copy. Some want a copy for themselves and they are not even covered! Insha Allah they will read with an open heart and make dua to Allah for strength and wisdom to change their lives. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain! SubhanAllah! Allah is ever so Merciful and Forgiving.

So Much Help from Everyone

Masya Allah! I touched by the many offers by so many kind brothers and sisters to help me introduce my book, in so many different ways. I am very motivated and very thankful to see such positive response.

Sister Zarina, whom I met only briefly at the International Fashion Festival, who after reading my book, loved it and offered to help me sell my books without taking a single cent from the sales! Jazakillahu khairan dear sister.

Friends like sisters Shahizah,Katijah, Noraini, Tati, Latifah and Suraya too had helped without taking a single cent from me. Only for the sake of Allah. Only Allah can reward them accordingly.

Busy with Clothes

I got sidetracked by having to do a collection of Chinese inspired clothes. It takes a lot of time to source and select the fabric, to send all the fabrics for sewing, for collection, to embellish etc. However, I truly appreciate the sisters who encouraged me and a very kind and insistent sister even banked in some cash(seed money) directly into my atm to give me that push. I never even expected that at all! Its so costly to make even one garment - quality fabrics, tailoring, time, transport etc. May Allah reward all their kind intentions.

Back to Books and Promotion to create Awareness

Insya Allah I plan to have a small and personal launch with the help of my friends in February. We cannot say no when people want to help - I see it as one of the ways that Allah is helping us , through other fellow Muslims. What more can I say? Alhamdulillah all the way!!!!

Case 1 : Response to the Book

So many fears about other people's reactions and opinions. So little concern about what Allah thinks about us, or what the malaikah is writing right now, about our behaviour.

A friend just told me that she shared the book with her friend who had some doubts about covering. People have the usual worries - will I still look good? Will my husband think I look old fashioned? Will he think other women are more attractive? Will people think I have gone "dawah type" and turn away from me? Will I lose job opportunities because I am covered? Do I look older? What shall I wear?

Anyway, to make the story short, this friend of mine persuaded her to read the book and by the time she finished it, she informed my friend that she wanted to put on the hijab. SubhanAllah! If the contents that came from my heart could reach hers, I am confident that insha Allah the same could happen to other readers. May Allah make it easy for them.

Ikhlas - Sincerity

It is important for someone to read the book with an open mind, with complete sincerity. To be humble and remember who she is at all times, she is Muslimah! One who loves Allah and has made a pledge to submit to His will and to follow the guidance of our beloved Prophet saw.

Amal Jariah and Hijab - constant purification and shield

We can take nothing with us except our amal jariah (continuous good deeds) and the continuous deeds of our pious children . We hope to return to Him purified, not just by ritual cleansing of the dead but through the purification in our daily lives, by way of wudhu, solat, dzikir and constant hijab.

The Year is Over!!!

Both the Islamic calendar and the secular calendar have passed! 2010 had brought many changes to my life. Some painful and sad, like the illness of my parents, their endurance of pain and suffering which I could not do much to alleviate.

My mother's passing still holds many painful memories which serve as a lesson for myself. How to live my life as fully as my mom did, how much love and patience she had for all of us, her family, her friends and the needy, some of whom she had never even met in her life!

Hanifah Chong led a very rich life, with many tears of joy and sorrow. I wish I can, insha Allah learn to be loving and forgiving as she had been, carrying on with her life the best she could. All the wrong that others had done to her could not be forgotten and kept on hurting but she forgave as often as she could. During her last days she said she forgave everyone and everything. It was a tremendous thing to do when sometimes the human memory could not let us forget the hurt and injustice we had suffered long ago. In Islam we are encouraged to forgive and let go as that is the key to our own salvation.

As children we did not give her our fullest attention as we had to divide our time to fulfill personal needs and to fulfill the needs of the ummah, although in a small way.We enjoyed her company and depended on her advice, daily without fail. Dear friends, never forget your mothers and always remind her of how important she is in your lives. Allah rewards those who honour their mothers most, after Allah and His Messenger saw.

Allah SWT had blessed us with a good year, no tsunami or massive earthquakes or terrible fires, as experienced by people in other parts of the world. Though there were floods and other disasters, they were minor compared to the suffering of others elsewhere.

Every experience is an enrichment and a lesson in itself. I pray to Allah to guide us and help us benefit from these lessons and increase our iman and will to be better servants of Allah.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Be Flexible

That also applies to cooking! In fact thats the best time to improvise and be creative. Have fun!!! Cooking should not be a chore though we sometimes feel it is, when we are busy and tired. Fresh food tastes best but sometimes we have to schedule our cooking to save time and energy.

I prefer to cook on marketing day, when everything is fresh and at its best. Takes less time than having to thaw and cook half frozen meat etc.

Braised Chicken Mushroom

Earlier on I cooked some chicken with celery, onions, shitake mushrooms and premium oyster sauce. While heating it up for my Dad's lunch, I decided to add some Chinese herbs to make it more nutritious.

Turn it into a Nutritious Soup

Just add more water or chicken/vegetable stock (not stock cubes). Throw in a small handful of wolfberries (kei chi - small oval shaped red berries). To make it sweeter, I added some Chinese red dates and simmered the soup. Its nice when the berries and dates are softened and the sweetness is delicate.

Wolfberries are good for the eyes whereas red dates are energy giving and tasty.

As I had to go out, I packed everything including the hot rice into separate vacumn jugs and placed them all in a large tray. That way Dad can have a delicious hot meal anytime he wants.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Excellence in Doing Good to the Friends of Parents and Other Relatives

Chpt. 42, Riyad-us-Saliheen
No. 341 Narrated "Abdullah bin 'Umar ra : Allah's messenger saw said, "The finest act of goodness is that a person should treat kindly the loved ones of his father." (Muslim)

Commentary : After the death of one's parents, one should maintain contact with their friends and threat them nicely. Besides being a great virtue it is warranted by the needs for showing compassion to relatives. To forget friends of one's parents and break contact with them has been greatly condemned by theh Shari'iah.

No.343 Narrated Abu Usaid Malik bin Rabi'ah As-sa'idi ra : We were sitting with Allah's Messenger saw when a man of Banu Salamah came to him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there any obedience to parents left that I can show to them after their demise?"
He saw replied, "Yes, to pray for them, to supplicate for their forgiveness, to fulfil their promises after their death, to maintain the ties of kinship which cannot be maintained except through them, and to honour their friends." (Abu Dawud)

Commentary : We learn from this Hadith that one should consider the life of one's parents a blessing because their life provides one with an opportunity to serve them wholeheartedly, which is ordained by Allah. If one wants to be nice to them after their death, one should adopt the methods mentioned in this Hadith. It needs to be noted that here it does not mention the ceremonies like recitation of the Noble Qur'an on the third, seventh and fortieth day after the death of a person, in vogue (popular) in our society.

All these methods of conveying the reward of virtuous deeds or rites are wrong for the reason that they are neither helpful for the dead nor the living. What really benefits the dead as well as living, is prayer and begging forgiveness from Allah.

In this Hadith, these have been regarded as acts of beneficence for the deceased parents. It clearly means that the children will be rewarded for the virtuous acts they do for their parents and the status of the deceased parents will also be elevated in the next world. The acceptance of the prayer in favour of the deceased parents is also confirmed from that Hadith also which tells that death brings to an end all the activities, except the following :

Firstly, an ongoing Sadaqah (Sadaqah Jariyah); like the digging of a well, the building of a masjid, etc.
Secondly, knowledge which benefits mankind.

Thirdly, prayers of virtuous offspring.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Enjoy Your Life

Enjoy Your Life

I decided to go back to my original blog name 'Enjoy Your Life'. It is really relevant to the topics I write about and though the contents of 'The Beauty of Covering' is close to my heart, it is but only a small part of the whole.

'The Beauty of Covering Up'

The title 'The Beauty of Covering Up' is indeed beautiful and readers have come back to tell me how close they feel to the title and how affected some of them are. It is really heartening to hear this. I have also received lots of positive feedback concerning the layout, presentation and design and the wonderful colours which strike an emotional chord within me, everytime I see it.

Thank You for Kind Suppport

Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement and support, my dear brothers and sisters. The first brother who bought my book (as a gesture of support) was Dato' Mustapha Ma, the President of MACMA, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association.

I feel Honoured

I feel honoured that sisters who are famous and respected academicians also bought my book, in support for the important topic of covering and behaving modestly, not only meant for a Muslim woman. This is a message for women of other religions who seek the truth and desire to return to their own religious roots, emulating honorable women of the past.

Mariam, mother of Nabi Isa

Can anyone ever imagine the respected and beloved mother of Nabi Isa (virgin Mary) uncovered and exposed for all to see? Never! Never! Never! For she was a chaste woman guided and protected by God, Allah SWT. Do you know that Mariam (her real name) is one of the most honoured women in Islam? And her son, Nabi Isa, a beloved prophet of Allah SWT?

Muslims Loves all our Prophets

Every Muslim knows that but ,sad to say, people who claim to be of his faith do not know that Muslims too share and love our early prophets, Abraham, Moses, David, Jacob, Joseph....until the seal of the prophets, Muhammad saw. We love all of them and we do not worship any man as he is creation. We worship only the mighty Creator, Allah SWT.

Mariam our Role Model

If we claim we love Mary, and we know that God Almighty had blessed and honoured Mary, why do people not take her as a role model? I remember a time when women used to cover their heads with beautiful hats or shawls when they attended church. As years went by, the hats shrank, the shawls and scarves seem to have disappeared. Now almost anything goes. what happened to these values? Who planned the erosion of values? What is the intention of such groups of people? Who do they serve? Obviously not Allah SWT.

New Look for Blog

Colour for the Year 2011 is PINK!!!!

Interestingly, I just heard over the radio a few days a ago that it was decided by some international research body that the colour for the year 2011 is PINK!

It seemed to be related to the optimism, anticipation, renewal of energy for the coming year etc; if I remember correctly. Its hard to concentrate on the radio when one is trying to manouver in a traffic jam.

Well, it so happened that right now my favourite colour is pink and my book is pink, my free carrier bag for the book and book mark are all pink! Nice touch!

Beige my Blog

But I decided to beige my blog. Though the book "The Beauty of Covering Up' is more for ladies, my blog is not. Perhaps all pink is a bit overwhelming for some brothers. Do look up my FaceBook under Noorshin Ng.

I just write and share my thoughts and concerns with anyone who cares to visit. I do not like to be political here - politics can make people emotional and insane.

Some people spend a lot to make their blogs look professional . They use this as a tool to slander others. When we read something we need to ask what is the intention of the writer? Is there a hidden agenda?

Do Not Believe Everything You Read or Hear

We can surely sense the sincerity or rather, lack of sincerity and arrogance of some writers who criticise others and even use false information to confuse innocent readers.

We really need to ask for dalil (evidence from authentic sources) if someone writes something damaging about our brothers and sisters. Just because it is printed and published does not mean its the truth.

Some people have no fear of Allah SWT and do not mind if the malaikah (angels) record their misdeeds.

May Allah SWT guide and protect us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pot Luck Gathering to Share Healthy Recipes

It would be rather nice if some of us could meet up to share our favourite healthy and wholesome recipes over a cup of hot tea or coffee! It can be anytime, brunch, breakfast or dinner - up the the convenience of our host.

Perhaps at the home a sister or during the weekends at Persatuan Darul Fitrah Malaysia, at Bandar Sri Damansara.

Ladies Only

It can be all ladies event initially so we can get to know each other. Its just an idea so we have not come up with any particular set requirements.

General Requirements :

1. Halal Food - bring a dish
2. and the recipe.
3. If you wish to do a demonstration pls bring your own ingredients. We have a cooking stove, fridge and oven.
4. Bring a health tip
5. Share favourite hadiths (with reference please)
6. Share favourite verses from the Quran ( ref pls)
7. Tell us what you would like to learn or share at our center

We are also trying to set up a Photography Club - all are welcome. Will try to find a teacher to give us some pointers and recommend some suitable cameras for those of us who wish to take proper pictures for our blogs etc.

Sisters please give your comments to make this little project a success. Whatever we share, learn and apply will go a long way and will benefit our family and friends insha Allah.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quick Chicken Stir Fry

I usually like to reserve some meat from the chicken t o make a quick stir fry dish. This can break the monotony of just having only soup though its already quite a meal in itself. Can be eaten with fluffy hot rice or even cut smaller and used in fried rice or a sandwich.


Take the balance one quarter of the chicken (only meat). Cut into medium chunks.
Fry some garlic and onions in palm oil or olive oil till aromatic and add in some julienned red, green and yellow capsicum. Keep frying till its a bit browned and fragrant.At this stage you can add one or two sprigs of curry leaves.

Add perhaps a tablespoon or two of curry powder and a sprinkling of fennel powder. Fry a bit and add chicken meat. Stir fry till chicken is tender and season with little salt and pepper.
Add extra spices and chili powder if you desire.

Recipes that may be Suitable for the Elderly and Patients
My recipes are suitable for my elderly dad who is a heart patient. I try to reduce the oil and fat but he occasionally gets to enjoy some tasty fried chicken, lontong and prawn sambal etc without upsetting his diet too much.

Idea for a new project

Perhaps I will write a small booklet on the kinds of food I served him and so far the heart specialist is very happy with his condition, considering his age and other chronic illnesses which are under control . Alhamdulillah! The fact that he could survive his heart attack this long is truly a miracle from Allah SWT.

The best part is his appetite is still very good and metabolism rate is very high. He actually eats more than I do and would ask for more rice if he particularly enjoyed his meal. He is still rather skinny and fragile. Allah SWT is truly Kind and Merciful.


Add sliced fresh mushrooms and red and green chillies.
Good to add chunks of ripe tomato.

Easy Nutri Chicken Soup - Chinese Style

I do not consider myself a good cook. Sometimes the meal is really fantastic and sometimes even I do not feel like taking a second helping. Some people eat just to nourish themselves and then they get on with their life and their work. Some of us look for that little bit extra in our daily meals. I usually cook what I personally enjoy.

Same Ingredients, Different Results

We use the same ingredients and spend almost the same amount of time in the preparation. Why not take a little bit of time to plan the meal mentally and make it a tasty and happy occasion at mealtimes instead of throwing everything together desperately at the last minute? Of course this does not apply to some of our mothers who excel in the kitchen every time!

Even I cooked some pretty tasteless or unappetising dishes once a while. Usually this happened when I was too busy, lacked ingredients and did not have any idea what to do when I had to step into the kitchen to prepare a meal. When I'm not in the mood to cook, I go into autopilot.

We do not need to plan a lot - just make sure we have some meat (optional), flavoursome bulbs like onions and garlic, maybe some herbs and some coloured leafy or root vegetables to create a colourful meal. That's for the nutrients that come from the various colours and flavours, created by Allah SWT for our good health and enjoyment.

Cooking with Love makes the Difference!

Just make something that's simple and acceptable to the family. Doesn't even have to be a complete meal, like rice or bread, soup, salad, meat etc. I make a quick sandwich with whatever bread available and use up all the leftovers from the fridge as filling.

Fillings that's quick and tasty, usually leftovers from the fridge :

Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Eggplant and Veggies
Sausages and leftover pasta sauce
Stir fried veggies with a slice of ripe tomato
Leftover mixed veggie salad and lemon juice
Boiled egg and tomato slices
Leftover shredded chicken and tomato
Meatball and tomato
Flaked fried fish with mayo and lettuce
Chicken curry gravy and potatoes
Baked Beans and fried egg
Omelette with cheese or mushroom
Garlic toast
Cucumber slices with cream cheese
Ikan bilis sambal from leftover nasi lemak
egg and potatoes mashed in mayo
Toast served with dhal curry
French Toast - sweet or savoury
Tuna with mayo
sliced cold meat
satay with spicy peanut sauce
beef or chicken stew
Leftover soup with toast

I made some chicken soup yesterday. The same recipe can be used for lotus root, old cucumber, winter melon and carrot and potatoes etc. We may add some dried octopus when we cook old cucumber soup. We may add some dried red beans when we cook the lotus root soup.

Nutri Chinese Veggie Soup

(Just like ABC Potato Soup. I use a lot onions in that soup)

Take 3/4 parts of an antibiotic free or range free/organic chicken and remove some skin and fats. The fats provide the flavour but I prefer to remove some of the skin, if not all of it.

Place chicken pieces in a large heavy pot and fill it with water, just covering the chicken. Add a small knob ginger if you like but I didn't have any . Add a large handful of Chinese red dates. I sometimes use extra dates leftover from Ramadhan. Even if they are dry and cold, just add them in and they will become melt in the mouth after 2 hours of simmering. Check water level.

After about an hour, add the large chunks of melon and diced carrot. Add pepper and simmer away till chicken is really tender.

There - so easy and stress free!

Special Melon Soup cooked in Melon

Hollow out a large wintermelon (do not remove too much from the center or the whole melon will turn to mush if you overcook. Dice chicken meat, carrots and Chinese shitake mushroom (just 3 pieces ) . Season and add some water so the food will cook and a tasty soup is created. Replace the top piece that was cut off. Secure it with toothpicks or small satay sticks.

Place the whole melon in a large double boiler or thick ovenproof casserole and insert whole container and melon into a large wok filled with water. Place it on the trivet and add water. Cover it and steam till melon is tender but not too soft. Check water level occasionally or it may dry up! It may disintegrate if it is overcooked!

Remove the casserole from wok and place it on dining table. Open the cover of melon carefully and scoop out the flesh, diced veggies and meat.

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

My mother used to cook this soup sometimes for our Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. Of course she would also plan and prepare for 3 days, to produce a fabulous dinner, consisting of as much as 12 dishes, if she had her way!

I used to tell her to reduce it to just 5 but she always said it was a special occasion and the hard work was only just once a year. She wanted to make the event memorable and make everyone feel loved and pampered by her labour of love. The food would not be wasted as we would enjoy eating it again the next day and if friends dropped by the next day, we would be happy to let them taste some special home cooking!

We would also occasionally invite some brothers and sisters who recently embraced Islam. They sometimes could not eat the food served by their own families. They would still sit with them and eat perhaps nasi beriyani or some halal fast food while the rest of the family had their ten course gourmet dinner.

Pleasing our Family

We too make a point to be home for the reunion dinner to foster silatul rahim and to show that Islam does not prevent Muslims from honouring and pleasing their parents and family. The only time they refuse to oblige or disobey is when they are asked to do something that is against the teachings of Islam.

Patience in Obeying Allah SWT

If we are patient in obeying Allah SWT, insya Allah we will gain His pleasure and we cannot imagine the great rewards He plan for us in this worldly life (dunia) and in the Hereafter (akhirah).

I am sure every mother would do the same for her children, on very special occasions. These days, we only celebrate the 2 Eids and of course cook some nice dishes for iftar (breaking of fast) in Ramadhan to share with others.

Every Chinese home will be filled with friends and relatives who return once a year to celebrate and enjoy each others' company and renew kinship. Traditionally they return from all parts of the world, as far as Europe, Hong Kong and USA.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simple Life

Everyone has a different idea about what 'simple life' is all about. Some may think of a simpleton but these days the simple life is very sought after! Too much work pressure, chasing after worldly gains, trying to please everyone except oneself, fear of giving up our wealth and perks.... Too much of everything may make our blood pressure go up and we end up depending on all sorts of drugs and medication to cope with the kind of lifestyle we are accustomed to.

Just what is Simple Life?

Simple life means exactly that .. slowing down, know our priorities, get rid of all unnecessary details from our daily routine. Do not accept every trivial request or invitation unless you are certain you can fulfil the ones you have committed yourself to.

Not necessary ot say Yes to Everyone and Everything!

If its some ibadah, make sure you can fulfil it or else do not accept so eagerly. We will only end up disappointing someone or create some problems for others because we are unable to keep our word.

Its difficult to say no and we sometimes actually want to be involved in some new project or idea. We may feel we are selfish if we do not agree to participate. Maybe we can compromise by finding a 'partner' to help us work it out.

Find a 'Partner'

If we cannot attend a meeting etc we have to find a representative - not just anyone but someone who actually can do the job and wants to do it. He or she may also be like you, busy and cannot commit long term but if and when possible, he or she will be there to serve.

Do not Waste Each Other's Time

People who call for meetings should not waste too much time going round the bush and please spare all the flowery speeches and praises. Most people do not turn up to hear about themselves.

Necessary to be Decisive and Firm

The facilitator or chairperson has to be decisive and firm. He or she has to be confident enough to control the meeting and talk time. Some people go into too much details when they talk and in the end the lose the attention of the listeners.


Find a partner soon and brief him or her (unless its confidential) on progress of the project regularly. When necessary, your partner will be able to fit into the project smoothly insha Allah. If there is a less experienced person who is keen to learn, be a mentor and guide him or her. Encourage and inspire her to achieve greater heights, through knowledge and service.

Most of us started this way - we know that support and acknowledgement of our efforts go a long way. It serves as a guide and builds confidence. In time to come, we too will share our knowledge and skills with others who will carry on this amal jariah (continuous good deeds accepted by Allah SWT).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Doing our Best and Reliance on Allah SWT

Today my friend shared some interesting facts that were revealed during an interesting interview with a well known succesful businessman . He revealed that being the eldest of the family, he had to drop out of school to help his father in his small business. He had no choice as there were many mouths to feed and he accepted the responsibility of helping with the family business.

When he was asked what did he miss most in his youth he replied that he felt very sad to see other ten year old children going to school and playing together. He had to follow his father to work, selling and trading fabrics and related items. As years went by, the business developed bit by bit, with lots of toil, disappointments. challenges and struggle.

This young man faced many adversities in his work and despite many ups and downs, he carried on. Allah SWT hears the duaa of the ones who call on him. He is pleased with people who carried on supplicating for His help and guidance, in patience and with great hope of His blessings.

One day he closed a very major business transaction and things started improving thereafter. With consistent hard work and persistence, he became very successful in his business and suddenly all the dark clouds parted. The light and blessings of Allah SWT showered upon him and his family and today they are not only well known but also known to be very generous and kind people.

Alhamdulillah! Nobody knows when Allah SWT will send His help and turn our lives around. We have to do our best and leave the rest to Him. He is the one who decides on our portion of rezk and wealth, we have to appreciate what is decreed for us. If we want more, we are encouraged to strive and work for it and continue asking for His help.

A Muslim has to learn to be contented and grateful for what is his portion in life. He has to strive for more and not complain and moan about his lack of opportunities and 'poverty'.

A hundred ringgit (dollars) may not seem much to many of us but there are many people out there who cannot put food on the table for their family tonight. There are those who cannot pay their electricity and water bills. Some cannot afford to send their children to school by school bus as they cannot afford it.

For those who are grateful for Allah SWT's provision, He will increase it for them and make it easy for them in due course. For every hardship there is relief.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Very Sleepy but ...

Everytime I am a little free, its really late at night. By the time I am really sleepy, I would sometimes feel I should just check my blog and perhaps update it a little....its so very wordy and almost boring!

Allah SWT's Mercy by sending Rain

Allah SWT is so very Merciful! Even if there is so much wickedness in the land, His Compassion is so great that He still showers His Mercy upon all His creation. All of us, including the animal, trees and vegetation receive the blessings of rainfall as we are totally dependant on His Mercy.

Its been raining the past few days and the air is fresh and cool at night. I saw the same large white crane- like bird standing alone in a small pool of water in front of my garden late this evening. Masha Allah! I feel so happy by its visit again.... they come alone sometimes and often in threes, a brown bird, a white one and a grey one. They always appear after the rain. When they spread their wings in flight, they are so very magnificent and graceful. Masha Allah!

I wonder where they come from? Where do they live? Why do they frequent this little meandering stream in the golf course in the middle of Selangor? Where do they go?

Animal Kingdom around Us

Once a young monitor lizard wandered into my garden. It was larger than a large cat, very beautiful with brilliant hues of green - it did look like a mini dinosaur. We had to chase it away by hosing it with water. It didn't realise that other people may harm it or even try to kill it. People are cruel sometimes without realising.

There is a very large monitor lizard (biawak) that also comes downstream and they all seem to like to drop by a short distance in front of my home. When it rains the stream rises to cover all the nearby areas and looks like a fast flowing large stream, about 50 feet wide (estimate). Biawak would then come down perhaps for fish and then find its way up the grassy banks to the golf course. Wonder what it does there?

Different Personalities

Sometimes the large grey bird is naughty and would bully and chase away the brown one though they are of about the same size. It shows the animals too have different personalities. Some are tougher and others timid. Kingfishers and other small birds do not care much about them - they fly about, all over the place enjoying the drizzle, keeping a lookout for fish.

Jewel Coloured Kingfisher prepares Dinner

My son once saw a vivid turquoise and yellow kingfisher catch a fish,. It flew and sat on a branch and hit the fish repeatedly on the branch to 'fix' its dinner! Kind of sad for the fish but we humans eat to live too.

The quiet time of the evening is so peaceful - shukr Alhamdulillah! It makes me forget about the meetings, deadlines and worldly responsibilities for a while.

I may not live in this wonderful place forever and may move on but I will always be grateful to Allah SWT for giving me this wonderful experience of being close to His creation. Alhamdulillah!

No matter where we stay, we must look out for the gems in the silver lining and appreciate the daily joys of living. Be truly thankful for Allah SWT's mercies and blessings.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Friendship and Keeping in Touch

Seems like just only yesterday! True, the human mind can retain pieces of information and retrieve it instantly much of the time. In fact its common to forget current events and yet retain important information that happened even 30 to 40 years ago!

Lost and Found!

Yesterday I got in touch with a very dear and long lost friend and sister in Iman. We reconnected instantly, just like we only left each other yesterday! I can still remember her laughter, her kindness, motivation and of course her cooking! Mmmm... I still remember how to make her delicious bread pudding! The way it puffed up, piping hot from the oven. Best eaten when it fresh and hot!

Straight from the Heart

I always seem to eat more when I'm having a meal at a friend's home. Home cooking is always best and most wholesome - why? Because it straight from the heart - right to our tummies! :)
In fact my cooking improved a lot as I would try out the dishes at home so my family could enjoy them too!

Things to do :
If you are too busy to send a real card, send your friend a virtual card to tell you you miss her and appreciate her.
Or just sms her to say hello.
I remember her in my prayers and make duaa (supplication) for her and her family.
We sometimes need to be more spontaneous as we tend to procrastinate when we want to do it 'properly' and then it never gets done...

Love your Friends for Allah SWT's Sake

Tell your dear friends you love them for the Allah SWT's sake. That's the best kind of love as we will insha Allah be reminded and motivated to be sincere, caring and humble in our relationship.

I feel so Blessed!

I feel so blessed to have known so many wonderful dear friends. Always in each other's hearts, insha Allah. May Allah SWT bless them and their loved ones and keep them safe and in His path.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lovely Lovely Fabrics Everywhere!

Been purchasing some lovely lovely silk fabrics lately. Its costly to have our clothes tailored but we can try to save by buying quality fabrics during mega sales. Shopping and carrying the heavy fabrics take time and effort but nothing good ever comes that easy. Remember not to stinge on the tailoring as a badly made dress is really a waste of precious time and money.

Guess that's why many people prefer to pay more for ready made clothes as they know what they are paying for. Unless its a tailor or boutique that they are familiar with.

Appreciate the Tailor

Its really difficult to get people to help with sewing and hemming etc so the poor overworked tailor has to do everything alone. Its sheer torture!!! Its fun to sew your own clothes at your own pace but to have to go to town to buy buttons, thread, notions, to draft, to cut, sew , hem, iron etc daily is such a terrible chore. Its not a job like cut and paste - even that can be tedious and boring, if you know what I mean...

New Range to Complement the Book

Have to design and work with my tailors to create a small range of clothes to complement the contents of my new book. I did not plan to do the clothes yet as I know the complexities and stress of designing, purchasing, planning, sewing and embellishment. However there had been some requests by friends who wish to motivate me, so it may be time for me to really think about coming up with a range .

Look out for Muslima Garment Designs

Insya Allah I will post some designs from time to time as my articles are getting very wordy! I hope you will enjoy them.

It really takes time and effort so I need to really get started. Well, I've started ...

Moroccan Meals

Alhamdulillah! We always feel extra thankful and satisfied after enjoying some Moroccan food at Min Fes spa and Cafe. In most cafes we do not get to enjoy authentic Moroccan salads and Moroccan mint tea, hot and sweet. The teh tarik is pretty good too! Though not Moroccan, which true Malaysian would not enjoy a cup of foaming teh tarik!

Harira soup and Tagine (slow braised meat in clay tagine vessel)

I particularly enjoy the chicken as well as lamb tagine. You will get to taste authentic Moroccan Harira soup, nutritious, delicious and an absolute favorite with all our friends. Mmmmmm... Yummy!!!

Min Fes

If you are ever in Damansara Perdana area, near Curve or Ikea, just turn into the road leading to Surian Condo and you will find a short row of shophouses. Min Fes is at the other end, one a spa and the other a cafe and selling Muslim apparel. They also have a gym upstairs that caters to the needs of men and women users separately, by appointment.

Hot Moroccan Tea and Salads

Today we had whole meal pannini lamb kofta sandwich, salad, lamb tagine and hot Moroccan tea. During my last visit I enjoyed a light snack of foul medamas, mashed beans with olive oil and lemon and consumed a whole plate of eggplant salad. I love the carrot salad too - can't imagine how I can eat up the whole plateful of carrots at one go! Healthy, my friends.

Real Food, Good Price

The prices are really affordable, not pricey like the restaurants found in touristy areas. I feel good as its wholesome real food, with olive oil and fresh ingredients. Alhamdulillah!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eidul Adha

Taqabbalallaahu minna wa minkum. May Allaah SWT accept from you and from us, our good deeds. Eid Mubarak.

Alhamdulillah Muslims all over the world celebrated this very special day (Hari Raya Haji) with joy and peace. We did not break our fast until after Eid prayers, unlike Eidul Fitri, (Hari Raya Puasa) where we will have a light breakfast before going for solat jemaah (congregational prayers).

Great Buffet Breakfast

We were ravenous when we left the masjid and had a wonderful buffet breakfast at a hotel nearby.Great selection and as with buffets, we can only choose what we like as we should not overeat. That would be harming ourselves actually.

This year only few of us made it to the same masjid. Some of my friends have gone for Haj and it must be such an emotional and satisfying journey for them.

Journey of a Lifetime

A journey of a lifetime!Dear brothers and sisters, may Allah SWT accept your pilgrimage and accept all your duaas (supplications) and ibadah (worship).

During Eidul Fitri many of us managed to meet at the masjid and adjourned to visit the homes of some of our members. It was certainly more interesting to be invited to the homes of our friends and to sample their very delicious food!

Volunteers have no day off!

I was disappointed to miss seeing some sisters whom I had promised to visit.Voluntary work has no day off! That's what makes voluntary work interesting and so very challenging!

Convert Support
Honour our Parents

We had to visit a new sister whose mother is rather uncomfortable and unhappy with the new developments. Actually we need to be very sensitive to their feelings and assure them that as Muslims, the parents are to be honoured and loved. We have to work hard to make them realise that Islam encourages us to be better children and better citizens.

Do what we can and leave the rest to Allah

And voluntary work is satisfying when we have done our part - even though we do not always succeed in our attempts to assist or help others. After all, we can only do our part and leave the rest to Allah SWT. He knows best.

Missing Mom

Now that my mother is no longer around, I miss her much, especially during Eid. This year I did not prepare anything very special but celebrated with friends. May Allah SWT forgive her sins and give her the highest Jannah (Paradise). I thank Allah SWT for making her my mother!

Never Stop Making Duaa

We must never stop making duaa for our parents, families and friends and the ummah (Muslim community worldwide). Duaas are very powerful.

Eidul Adha is Important and Significant

Many people somehow do not consider Eidul Adha as priority and do not do much to celebrate the day befitting the occasion. They treat it as a private family affair and take a break from hectic pace of daily work. However they sometimes celebrate Eidul Fitri for over a whole month, with open houses almost every weekends - we were sometimes invited to several homes in a day. Strange but true!

It isn't a complaint but sometimes it even became difficult to please everyone as there isn't sufficient time to visit every home and we certainly could not eat that much.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Black is Beautiful

Many people still mistakenly imagine Muslim women in shapeless black tents, uneducated, conservative, oppressed and forever in ignorance.

What an Awful Misconception!

Sure, there are still women like that in some parts of the world. Some are victims of unislamic culture, where women are not given their rightful place of honour in society.

Maybe they are poverty stricken due to war and natural disasters. They may not have educational opportunities and they may not have a voice of their own.

Ignorant and chauvinistic men may try to perpetuate their power over the women in their societies. These men are actually backward and ignorant of the wisdom, fairness and beauty of Islam.

Double Standards

When someone wears a black, tight and revealing outfit, people say its cool, elegant and fabulous. When a Muslima wears a black abaya (long overcoat or gown), even some fellow Muslims say wearing black is backward, depressing and conservative. That is a little unkind.

Too Much Bling Bling blinds Us

Though it is fashionable these days for some Muslima to wear black abayas, it was mainly a cultural practice in certain parts of Arabia. Some garments these days are actually extremely expensive.(Think bling bling from Dubai) Actually all that excessive glitter and bling would make these garments a little unsuitable for Muslima to wear outside the home. Simply too flashy for the public eye, my dears! All eyes will be riveted in your direction. Is that what you really want?

Ready for Abaya!

No one forced anyone to buy black. No one said its more holy to wear black. No one said we must only wear abaya! It took me a very long time to grow to love and accept the black abaya. I did not understand the rationale behind wearing a black abaya. Actually white or light coloured abayas are really nice but they are not so practical.

Now I realise its such a versatile garment- modest, easy fit, conceals all the curves of the body and it covers our beautiful attractive clothes which we use in privacy. Only dark fabrics are opaque. White may be a little transparent.

Quality abayas are now available in many beautiful textures,in dark and neutral shades and even combined with beautiful brocades and silks. They are tastefully styled and well made. That revolution took many years! I'm ready for abaya now!

Help Each Other to Please Allah SWT

People who wear clothes that reveal their figures and skin have actually disobeyed the Islamic dress code. However, it takes time for people to understand and to have the courage to change their lifestyle. Share knowledge and encourage. Many of us were like them too - so ignorant and wasted so much valuable time, with no real direction.

When we want to help someone, be gentle and be patient. Do not judge. And some men should remember they have daughters and grandchildren who may grow up to be even worse that the ones they criticize. It would be wiser for some critics to go home to guide their own families first. That is better for them.

Who are the Women in Black?

They are from diverse backgrounds. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, businesswomen, wives and mothers. They too love attractive clothes and bright colours but they make constant effort to check themselves for the sake of Allah SWT.

What is their Yardstick?

Their yardstick is to ask themselves whether their actions would please Allah SWT. They ask themselves whether their behaviour is according to the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad saw.
These are truly beautiful women who carry themselves well, enjoying a moderate lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Constantly Faced with New Challenges

Its really quite challenging to serve in an ngo (non governmental organization). First, we usually do not have much funds. Whatever we have would be spent on water, electricity, rent, maintenance, car repair, petrol, convert welfare, emergencies, Eid gathering, Iftar (breaking of fast together), classes and projects.

Need to be Creative and Resourceful
Create a Win Win Situation

Sometimes the allocation is just average. How to do uncommon things which we are only given common support? Well, we just have to be creative ,keep to our budget and to fund raise whenever possible. Sacrifices are expected and the norm. Those who can afford often dip into their own pockets to help out.

A Great Race Every Day of our Lives!

Anyway, Allah asked us in Al Quran to race with each other in doing good deeds so striving hard can be a win-win situation.

Large Organization supported by only handful of volunteers
Where is Everybody?

Secondly, many organizations may be fairly large but only a handful of people run them. They are not interested in doing everything themselves but the lack of suitable and sincere volunteers force the same people to wear different hats. That can actually cause quite a headache, literally!

Remember your Intention

Thirdly,some people are afraid of voluntary work. Some are not willing to sacrifice some time to help others and themselves. Maybe they had bad experiences or had personality differences with others in the organization. Do not give up so easily, What is our niyyah (intention) when we joined initially? To learn, to share and to serve? Or just to be served?

Who is Our Greatest Enemy?

I was reminded yesterday that Shaitan is our greatest enemy and he is always on the lookout to disrupt our brotherhood and sisterhood. We always have to ensure our good relations are not damaged due to a passing incident. Being overly sensitive, selfish, childish or self righteous may cause is to become just a little bit arrogant without realising it.

Shaitan is very clever and very subtle. He weaves all kinds of doubts and bad feelings, exeggerates the situation and makes us break bonds of brotherhood. Being overly angry is also an attribute of shaitan if the matter is something that can be rectified or if the other party indicates willingness to make peace.

Love Shall Overcome!

Our fellow Muslims have rights over us just as we have rights over them. Maintain our fellowship and be united in worship of Allah by serving all mankind. Love shall overcome!

Be Sincere, Repent and Move On....

Its so easy to fall into this trap without even knowing. I beg Allah SWT to forgive me for my past mistakes and I sincerely apologise to all my brothers and sisters for any hurt and unhappiness I may have caused them.

There are times when we did not like a certain action but we should not stop caring for that person for the sake of Allah SWT. Sometimes our response is too quick and our words too sharp. We cannot take back our words.

Yes, I have mellowed a little through the years but there is still a lot of room for improvement.... SORREEE!

Do Not be Afraid of Change

Things are not that bad all the time, people can change. Guess we have to learn to change ourselves first before expecting others to do likewise. Or just try to be patient, give and take. That takes true humility and effort.

Forgiving is Sometimes Very Hard to Do

Yes, you can try forgiving him or her. Sometimes we feel it is alright to be so hard on someone but we want Allah SWT to be lenient to us. Do we want Allah SWT to forgive us and shower His Mercy upon us?

I want to share something - forgiving frees us from all sorts of negative vibes and allows us to focus on the positive, the present moment. It allows us to enjoy our lives!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cooking in a Hurry

Have to cook some fish for my dad's lunch

Quick Fish Slices

Just marinade some fillets of sole with curry powder, salt and pepper
Heat the oil and place the slices in carefully. I used a large non stick pan.
The oil helps to brown the onions and spices to make it aromatic and tasty.

Slice some onions quickly and mix them in at the sides, careful not to disturb the fish.

Throw in thinly sliced capsicum, curry leaves or red and green chillies.
Anything goes!

Turn the fish to cook the other side and stir the veggies to brown evenly.
Fish is ready when slightly browned and firm to the touch.
Don't use your finger! Press with a non stick spatula, my dears!

Serve with fluffy hot rice and salad. Bread and soup would be super.
Now, isn't that real quick?

Baking Day again!

Poor Time Management
I have to bake some buttercakes today. Really too busy and too lazy to bake but this lady called over 6 times, just to adjust the time and date of picking up the cake. She is a dear friend and a lovely lady but her timing can cause me serious ulcers! She was my biggest customer as I supplied cakes to her shop.

In fact, I stopped supplying cakes to her shop because of her extremely poor time management. Her constant delays and changes affected my work, my time and peace of mind. Sometimes we cannot let money control our lives. Don't be a slave to making more money.

Just now my dear sister Nur Hana sent me a beautiful sms. I'll share it with you:

"Make your wealth into two dirhams, a dirham you spend on your families in every way you can, and a dirham that you put forward for the Hereafter (spend it in the way of Allah). The 3rd type of dirham (i.e. more wealth) will harm you and not benefit you, so do not desire it."

How so true! Allah SWT is so full of wisdom and He guides the ones who obey.

ButterCake - you either love it or you don't!

I love buttercake! On a good baking day, the cake smells of fresh eggs and vanilla, so buttery and soft and fluffy to the touch. Sometimes I feel very possessive of my freshly baked creation, grudging the fact that its meant for someone else.

Its as though I can't bake another but its true! I would be too busy or too tired to bake another one right away, unless its a baking marathon during festivals and special orders.

Cream Puffs, Anyone?

I love cream puffs too but it takes a bit of time to do so I end up buying if I have to visit a friend. But I have to bake some for myself if I feel like having some as its rather expensive and I am not satisfied with only 2 or 3....

Now you know why bakers are bakers! They love to eat and they enjoy the goodies they learned how to make. And they get them hot off the oven! This is what they mean by having the cake and getting to eat it too!!! Fantastic!

Make Your Own

Do try the cream puff recipe in the blog. Its not really difficult to do. Just need a little patience and time. And you can save a lot of money as some cream puffs and eclairs in the coffeehouse cost over RM6 a piece! That's the cost of a simple lunch at the corner shop.

My 9 inch iced Buttercake and Filipino Moist Chocolate cakes cost RM60 a piece and I have not raised the price for some time. Customers always ask whether the price has increased - that's because most goods have gone up in price.

You Can Help Others- be Considerate to your Customers
Keep on working - all rezq (wealth) comes from Allah SWT
He decides, not anyone else

This baker will try to maintain the price as long as she can - she loves to eat out and knows how expensive it costs to feed a family of five! Cakes and eclairs are luxuries - people can survive without them for the next 100 years!

I Love Cake!

But I know I can't! I love delicious Carrot cakes and Pavlovas, French fruit tarts, eggless and halal Tiramisu, Cheesecake with strawberries and Savaroffs - buttery and delicate biscuits with strawberry preserves in the center! Yummmm!!!!
Pineapple Tarts, anyone?

Maybe one day I will post some photos to show you what I mean. Well, let me learn how to use the camera first....

Enjoy Your Life

How to Enjoy Your Life

How to enjoy one's life? There are plenty of ways to achieve joy. One simple way is by being ready to appreciate all of Allah SWT's blessings that come your way. In a way even a routine lifestyle is still a blessing for we may not be able to deal with an upheaveal in our lives.

Or perhaps life had been so comfortable and secure that even good things have become just a predictable routine and even a routine is no longer appreciated.

Looking Out of Your Window

Ever looked out your window and suddenly catch the glorious sunset? Or the flight of birds at dawn?

Despite life's occasional toils and troubles we have been blessed with lots of beautiful memories of joy which may have faded due to our preoccupation with chasing worldly pleasures.

Blessings from our Creator

We simply cannot equate wealth and worldly prestige with life's simple joys and pleasures. Such joys are usually related to experiences that touch our hearts and minds. Our inner consciousness will always relate and respond to blessings from our Creator.

Pleasure in the Simplest Things

Thats why we find great pleasure in enjoying fresh morning air, the purifying rain and beautiful flowers in bloom.

We Must Slow Down to Enjoy Life

When we are too busy, we just go through the motions of eat, work, stress, sleep, eat, work..... have we really been living? What is life all about? We care for the body - with good nutrients, spas, flashy cars, luxury homes.... do we make time to nourish our own soul?

Sura 55 Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious)
Which of the Blessings of your Lord will you deny?

Everyday Mercies from Allah SWT

We find peace and joy when our soul is in harmony with our thoughts and emotions. There is so much joy in life's simplest pleasure like the flutter of fireflies, walking on the beach and enjoying all sorts of fruits and herbs from the earth.

What Do We Value More?

What do we truly treasure? Something sophisticated and high tech? Or the abundant gifts that come free of charge from Allah Almighty? That actually means His mercies are truly priceless!

Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

If we reflect about all the blessings we already have, we may realise we had been happy but did not even recognise it. Does that make sense?It does to me now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

IFF 2010 Press Conference at Hotel JW Marriot KL

Islamic Fashion Festival Charity Fund Raising Events (IFF)
General Press Conference

I was recently invited to attend an IFF press conference.

It was a very interesting mix of celebrities, royals, generous sponsors, the press, distinguished guests and last but not least, dedicated support staff and creative people. All of them were there to perform ibadah (service to Allah SWT) to raise funds for various charities in the country.

It was really a informative to be briefed about the great work carried out by many of the people in the room. People from diverse backgrounds, race and religion.

Even Islamic ngos were given the opportunity to raise funds for their various organisations by selling tickets for the IFF events. This is a very generous and caring gesture by the organiser as Islamic organisations are often neglected by many large corporations.

Why the Neglect and Oversight?

Maybe the Islamic ngo volunteers and staff are deemed to be a serious lot, plain and unglamourous! Some companies may be more interested in a higher profile and some interest generating publicity. Some glamour may spice up their image - probably so too!

Perhaps the general perception of people may be true - people from Islamic ngos are somewhat too serious and dedicated in their work. They serve Allah SWT by helping mankind and take the duty of Khalifah (vicegerent on this earth) very seriously.These people may have no time to relax or enjoy life like others.

True, to a certain extent. That is only a perception.

Getting to Know the True Muslim NGO Volunteer

Some people may even think these volunteers are a fanatic lot, conservative and old fashioned. That is like putting all the eggs in one basket!

When you get to know a volunteer or daawah officer or even an ordinary member, he or she is also a parent, a sister, a brother, a friend. Their lives are also peppered with ups and downs, joys and tears, just like yours. And they definitely know how to enjoy themselves! Especially so if Allah SWT is pleased with the individuals - they may get good of this world and good of the Hereafter. Great rewards await humble servants of Allah!

Who is a Servant of Allah?

Anyone can chose to be a servant of Allah SWT. It starts with your intention.

A servant of Allah is one who spends his life, his time, his wealth, his energy in the service of Allah SWT. Sometimes he cannot do all but its fine to start with what is achievable.

He serves and he is certain of the promise of Allah to his humble servants. It is a most honorable position in Islam, so do not be afraid of the word 'servant'. I used to be a little confused about the term too.

Be proud to be one and be patient in serving Him. Being a slave of Allah means we are on the right path, the path to salvation and Paradise.

Some of them are writers, architects, tour leaders, restaurant owners, doctors, lecturers, motivators and also interior designers. I know someone who loves trekking and mountain climbing - she is a Muslima! Surely people from such diverse backgrounds cannot be that dull or boring!

They just love to serve Allah SWT and one way is to be useful to people, as that is full of blessings!

Ngo Activities
Who Do We Help?

Muslim ngos are involved in convert welfare and that includes helping the families of converts. These people are usually referred cases and some join because they wanted to learn more about Islam. Many Muslims come for counselling - marriage, marital problems, conversion, family problems, illness and financial difficulties. Some did not have proper guidance and face problems of faith and patience when faced with challenges. They all need attention, support, understanding and help of some sort.

Who Receives Assistance and Who is Rejected?

There are times we are forced to select whom to offer assistance due to lack of funding. Its really sad as the one who failed to get help may become disillusioned and turn to other offers of assistance from people who may have a negative influence on them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Launch at JW Marriot Hotel KL

Life is always full of surprises!

I cannot agree more! After many changes, insha Allah my book will be launched in November at a Charity Hi Tea Gala Function! Of course its not the highlight of the event but nevertheless, it will be part of a very prestigeous and elegant setting. And insha Allah some people there may be interested enough to want to know just why being covered up is beautiful!

I want to thank many of my sisters have who bought tickets for this charity event and look forward to being with them on this happy occasion.

I Feel so Very Blessed!

Sister Jamilah Samian and Zabrina Abu Bakar
2 Inspiring Writers in our midst!

Alhamdulillah! I really feel blessed to have met 2 very well known Muslimah writers! Sister Jamilah Samian is no stranger to parents of young children. She has a wealth of knowledge on how to understand and raise our children in a caring, productive and spiritual manner. And I enjoy listening to her talks as she shared insights and advice on how to bring the best out of our children.

I met sister Zabrina Abu Bakar on several occasions. She too,is also an active volunteer in ngo activities. She may not remember me as we didn't have much time to talk but I looked forward to meeting her again.

Sisters Writing Support Group

I told sister Jamila how nice it would be if sisters can meet to discuss ideas and support and motivate each other to produce more meaningful and quality books. Being relatively new I would certainly value some tips from our seasoned writers.

Please, Everybody - Start Writing!

In fact I encourage everyone to write. It is very addictive and satisfying. We try to share our thoughts, ideas and knowledge through a string of words..... sometimes the flow of words end in an interesting and unexpected twist. I occasionally surprise myself that I could suddenly think of a powerful phrase or idea. Subhan Allah! The Almighty sends help and inspiration when we sometimes hit a writer's block!

The Beauty of Covering Up -hot off the press!

Yes! the long awaited moment... my book is published! Alhamdulillah! After so many changes, drafts, redrafts, fighting for time and juggling between all my various duties and activities - we made it!

I have to thank my design team as they really tried their best to come up with a concept that reflects my personality and expectations. I did try to be less demanding (I don't like to make people suffer) but they were really pushing the limits and telling me not to settle for less!

Sister Yasmin Gan had, a few years ago when I shared my aspiration to publish my own book on Islamic garments said she would like to produce my book for me. That spurred me on as an experienced publisher would consider my materials suitable for publishing.

When I openly expressed my desire to publish my book, there were several suggestions. Some friends asked me to let someone else publish it and the company would take care of everything. Yes, from artwork, layout, concept and even the financing! Sounds too good to be true?

I was realy quite interested but I wanted to be part of the process of concept and design. I needed someone with a sharp eye and mind to tell me how to improve my book. I needed support and motivation, someone to guide me and challenge me improve myself.

So I didn't really have the choice but to self publish. And I don't regret it as I now have the freedom to share my books with more people and also determine where to market my books. I want to share and I want it to be affordable. Being self published means I can adjust the pricing to suit the situation. I can even give a discount at a book signing event if its held in a private location. I do not need to pay the publisher any royalties. The best is I can insha Allah sell my books to many parts of the country and the world!

If I were writing a book that has little colour and illustrations perhaps would be more feasible to seek the help of a friendly publisher. If the book is full of illustrations, we need a dedicated creative team to make the best of it and publishers may not be keen to invest on that. We can't have everything.

I am of course on the look out anyway, I want to know my options. That's because as I am already dreaming of my next book!

Alhamdulillah! I love my book! I hope you do too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tinkling of a bell

I wasn't sure I did hear a tinkle.... yes! Its the same sound again. I looked out the open glass door and saw a young white and yellow cat with a collar. I called it softly. Miss Cat looked at me and decided its safer to move on.

Joys and Pains of having a Pet

I lost my brown 'Burmese' cat a few months ago, before I moved house. One day we found her lying at by the side of the road, body still warm. We rushed her to the vet but we were too late.

Loving Constant Companion
Source of Joy

She was a most affectionate and cute cat, an excellent companion for my mother and they had an unusual bond. She probably gave my mother more joy than some people she knew.

Miss Stitch
Once, Miss Stitch went missing for 3 whole days and we thought we had lost her.

Sir Grey and Black Stripes
to the rescue!

She had an ardent admirer, Sir Grey and Black Stripes. He talked a lot though we didn't understand a word he said. He used to cry at our backyard, looking for Stitch when she went missing. On the 3rd day, we noticed him facing the glass door of our neighbour. After crying incessantly for some time, my son noticed the glass door opening slowly and Stitch bounded out of their house. Sir Grey stopped wailing and then we suddenly realised that he was calling for her!

Catnapped by Neighbour

She jumped over the half wall and was home again! Well, true how unpredictable some people (and cats) are, she rewarded him by swiping his face with her claws. Wonder what was that all about? Son said probably to tell him "What took you so long!!!".

Happy and Sad Memories

Actually the old home held a lot of sad as well as happy memories for all of us. Lost my mother as well and a physical move in a way helped me to accept reality and gave me the momentum to move on with my life.

Not everyone is blessed with good parents. Sure there were disagreements and differences in opinions and vision. However parents are a source of support, a point of reference and a refuge when you find the world is against us. Anyway,at least most of the time during our childhood.

Doing it Alone - a lonely journey

The only difficult time was during my journey to Islam, where I had to do it alone and it upset her a lot to think she was losing me in the process.I consider it my ignorance and lack of experience. Sometimes we did not mean to hurt someone but did it anyway. The most important thing is to make peace and seek forgiveness. From man and from Allah SWT.

Allah SWT Forgives those who Repent Sincerely

Allah SWT constantly forgives us when we repent. Be quick and sincere with saying "Astaghfirullah" and make solat taubat. He forgives when we ask fervently, not just expect to be forgiven without any effort whatsoever. Its best to also make up for it by doing some good deeds and say something good if we wronged someone.

Muslims are Big Hearted and Forgiving

Islam encourages us to be just and be big hearted, forgive and do not be angry. Sometimes we do very mean and stupid things when anger blinds us.

Not Easy to Deal with other People sometimes

There are matters that Allah SWT will leave to us to settle between mankind. So we need to apologise and seek forgiveness from people we have hurt or offended or had done injustice to. If we do not, it may affect our standing on Day of Judgement and the 'victim' may not forgive us and ask for justice from Allah Almighty.

Saying Sorry is indeed very hard to do

Saying Sorry is truly difficult sometimes, especially when its not entirely our fault! Is it the ego, the fear of being rejected, the embarrassment, the fear of others finding our our weaknesses or the fear of the repercussion? Maybe a mixture of all these.

Purification of our Soul

We sometimes have the right intention but cannot find the right moment. Actually there is no perfect moment and if the matter is really serious, just do it and move on. This act of repentance and confronting our own weaknesses insya Allah helps us in more ways that we realise.

Repentance Helps Us a Great Deal

It can help us to be stronger,to correct ourselves, to be braver and to remember it doesn't really matter that much if people think we had been real mean, selfish, or silly, or vain to have committed such mistakes. That's the truth about us so do not live a lie!

No One is Perfect
Everybody makes mistakes

Everybody make mistakes. Do not live in denial. We will be the biggest losers. The niyyah (intention) is to please Allah SWT and to purify our own souls.This humbling experience will remind us of our frailities in this world and our smallness in the universe.

We can be Winners

To be able to apologise unburdens our souls. To have courage and determination seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT makes us winners. And it needs strength to be humble. Pride and Arrogance are weaknesses so we need to keep away from people and activities that make us forget our true position in this lifetime - we are the beloved servants of Allah SWT!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Counting my blessings

Alhamdulillah my son is not interested in branded goods and fancy gadgets. Many designer goods are indeed of good design and quality but a little above our average budget, even if its tax free. The sole distributor may end up making more profit after the sales tax is abolished. Anyway, that's why we are in business!

Not Fussy so long clothes are comfortable

He wears anything given to him, from designer clothes, hand me downs, from bargain bins to Rm5 ones from a charity sale. Sure, he enjoys upgrading his computer and laptop, who doesn't? But I do not have to keep on buying him expensive designer shirts and bags, shoes and accessories like some parents I know. I buy them for myself as I work hard so if the price is right, I may think about it.... We only generally indulge in activities like good company, buying books and eating well. Not exactly healthy to eat out though we like it too, but I do try to cook wholesome meals whenever I have time.

Sacrificing our own Needs

Today I'm expecting delivery of some furniture and do hope they will fit well into his room. Fell in love with some rustic wooden items in a shop. Actually I should be using the cash to purchase the bookcases I need.

Son is really quite an independent person. He seldom ever requests for extravagant personal items and makes do with whatever is available. In fact I'm really thankful he is not like some pretentious kid who wants exactly what his peers have. Alhamdulillah (all praise to Allah) he is not a follower.

Acknowledging and Appreciating our Children

So, for all his good deeds and patience, I want to thank him and surprise him by upgrading his room - long overdue as he is already 21.

Make Duaa for your Family all the time

Im not asking for an A student or a perfect son. I make duaa (supplications) to Allah SWT to give me a son who is soleh (pious). We have to keep asking if we need Allah's help. "Ya Allah, please keep our faith (iman) strong and let us live as a Muslims and die as Muslims".Ameen.

Happy ChildhoodTeaTime Memories

Waiting for the cake timer to ring. The buttercakes are almost done now. I generally know when its almost ready - buttery and vanilla fragrance is wafting right into the living room. Mmmmm.... feels so good because it brings back the memories of childhood. Mom would be baking and we would be eagerly anticipating a delicious tea spread. It wasn't everyday that we would get to have pancakes, waffles and cupcakes. Sometimes its just some hot Milo and cream crackers or some butter cookies.

Mom's Cooking is Best!

Children always think mom's cooking is the best ever! Do you agree with that? I do, as none of us can ever cook as well as she did. If you have a favourite dish, do not take it for granted that you will eventually learn how to do it someday. And its a great way to introduce mom to the younger generation who may find it hard to imagine grandma.

Honour our Parents and the Elderly

Honour our parents and the elderly while they are still with us. Do not have regrets that you couldn't find time to be with them. They made time for us for many many years, from birth to adulthood. What do you mean when you say you do not have time to visit or attend to their needs? We usually find time to have coffee and maybe even take a short holiday with friends. Make time for people you love and who will always love you in return.

A Squirrel Visitor

Squirrels in the Apartment

Its fun to see little squirrels sprinting all over the garden but when a naughty and curious one decided to keep visiting, he has outworn his welcome.

There is this little hyper one that had been visiting for the past few days - getting braver now. Even went as far as the kitchen which is at the back of the apartment.

Once it got so scared when he saw us that he ran everywhere and jumped onto my father's bed when he was resting. It was all over his bed and he slept through it all! A good thing too - dad has heart problem so it could be too shocking for him to have a squirrel jumping next to him.

My son said we ought to get a mouse trap and see if we could catch it. He would love to experience having a little brown squirrel pet for at least a few hours. Poor squirrel, I don't think it would like it at all!.

They love the wild but they are getting unnatural now. Or is it perhaps they do not have enough food now that the trees are cut down indiscriminately? Man is often to blame for the woes of the little creatures that live around us.

Squirrels sometimes even eat birds' eggs. They probably eat fruits and nuts though I have seen a squirrel eating cat biscuits.

Story of a Friendly Kitten and a Squirrel

Its true! Once I saw a squirrel eating right next to my yellow tabby - side by side! Well, she didn't get her name Friendly Kitten for nothing. Even from a tender age, she was always kind and caring to others. She would also entertain us and love us unconditionally. Never haughty or naughty, like other cats we had.

When she grew up we called her Girl. She seldom spoke and used to be silent, looking into our eyes quietly, deep in thought. She sometimes used her paw to scoop up her biscuits. Its quite surreal - so humanlike! And she would massage us with her paws, as if to show her affection. Girl disappeared for a few months - we thought we lost her for good.

Strange Scratching Sound at Night

One night I heard a weird and sinister sound at my upstair bedroom window. It was really quite creepy but I just had to find out what was making that sound. I whipped open the curtain and I saw Girl! Seated upright, and using her 2 front paws to scratch the window pane. I let her in and discovered she was big and round. Girl was going to be a mother and she came home to deliver! Humanlike, don't you think?

Maybe the people whom she adopted decided to throw her out as they couldn't deal with the possibility of a bunch of messy kittens in their home. Anyway, Welcome Home, Girl!

Recipes : Cream Puffs and Italian Creme Potatoes

Been thinking of making delightful cream puffs for a few weeks already. Sometimes we need to have the right mood before we embark on a baking session. A friend ordered a chocolate cake with whipped cream topping, heavily sprinkled with pistachios. I had to buy a whole box of cream and there were times when I had to throw it all away because I did not have time to make anything with it.

Certain baking ingredients are very costly now. And cream cannot keep well so I decided to be a little hardworking. My friend Latifah simply loves cream puffs. Hope she liked the ones I made.

Choux Pastry for Cream Puffs

Bring to boil 150 ml water.
Add 2 oz butter
Once its melted, remove pan from heat and immediately
Add in 2.5 oz sifted plain flour

Stir very quickly with wooden spoon to combine mixture to a
smooth paste . Cool it slightly for around 2 minutes.

Place the dough into cake mixer and turn mixer on briefly to cool the dough.
Beat 2 eggs and gently pour in the egg mixture little by little, with the machine running at slow speed. Increase speed a little after each addition of eggs.
Do not use large eggs as mixture should not be too soft runny.
Do not overbeat if using machine. The paste should have a nice shine, not dull and dry.

Now place batter in a piping bag with a very large star nozzle so you can pipe out the pastry. To save time, you can make little mounds or short straight lines for eclairs.

Place puffs well apart on dampened baking sheets, lightly greased sheets or line with silicone sheets.

Bake at high temperature of around 200 deg C or 400 deg F for 45 to 50 mins. Do not underbake or pastry will deflate and be damp in the center. After its nicely light golden brown and firm, remove and split the puffs halfway horizontally with a sharp knife to release the steam.

Whip some fresh cream or make some delicious custard to fill the puffs.
Dip the tops in melted plain chocolate if desired.

Yesterday I visited a friend and had a delicious meal there. She generously taught me how to make some Italian Potatoes. Maybe you can make them for your family - really quick, easy and delicious too! I made them this morning as I happened to have extra cream. Here it goes :

Italian Creme Potatoes

Peel and boil 3 large potatoes. Cut them in 2 if you are in a hurry.
Meanwhile slice a large onion, 3 pips garlic and fry in some olive oil.
Add a few pinches of sea salt and pepper to taste.
Now add the boiled and drained potatoes to the fried onions and garlic.
Mix it up gently with wooden spoon and add around half a cup of cream.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and mix lightly.
Bake in the oven to brown it if desired.

I did not do that as I was in a hurry to go out. It was nice and moist. Had it for brunch with onion and tomato salad, baked beans and fried nuggets with veggie filling on the side. That's my version of a quick brunch, though fried nuggets are not too healthy.

You can also add a little minced meat when you brown the onions.
For a change, sprinkle finely chopped parsley or scallions.
Serve with bread and salad for a quick meal.

Thank you Doctor C Noraini for sharing!

Remembering Ramadhan

Missing Ramadhan already! Came and went just like that...!!! Been a frantic month, trying to work, fulfil spiritual obligations, social obligations and fervently seeking Allah SWT's rewards, guidance and blessings!

Also a big change in our routine - sleeping hours sharply reduced and turned topsy turvy - all for a good cause. And the feeling of unity, compassion and heightened spirituality. How beautiful is Ramadhan!

Resolutions - not made to be broken
Promise of a Muslim to Oneself.

As usual made a little resolution to improve myself a little more this year. Actually we can make resolutions anytime of year but Ramadhan is like a major milestone. I will know how much I managed to achieved by checking myself. Where do I stand by next Ramadhan? If we treat our resolutions carelessly, it actually means we do not treat our own thoughts and intentions with respect and sincerity. It may be difficult to fulfil some resolutions but they must never be taken lightly. Or else why bother to try to be 'r e s o l u t e'?

Keep a Journal, Make a Plan
Try Mind Mapping

Write your own journal to chart your own course and check your progress. You can also do mind mapping - it will bring out the creativity in you!

Its more organised and keeps us on track. Actually we should best begin before Ramadhan, plan and try to fulfil some resolutions for Remadhan, follow up in Shawal and carry on until the next Ramadhan. May Allah SWT give us the opportunity to benefit from another Ramadhan, the most blessed month.

Salams Friends - Good to back again!

Major Changes in My Life

Time just whizzed past at an astonishing speed! Between June and October I managed to sell my home, relocated myself to a more convenient place, bought myself a car, completed my book that took ages to write and unpacking almost done! Just too many books to sort out - so hard to throw them out! They are some of my best companions.

I love some of my old clothes too. I still wear my favorites though some are really rather old! Still look good and really comfortable. Go for quality. I trim my wardrobe often as space is limited.

Sharing Preloved Clothes and Possessions

I like to share my clothes. People share their clothes with me too. Why hang on to clothes which we seldom use? We may still love them and treasure some extra sentimental pieces but what good will that do? It only takes up precious space and deprive others of enjoying them. I do keep some special pieces but if we enjoy buying new clothes all year round, its time for them to find a new home.

Preloved clothes are as good as any new ones. After a few washes, new ones too will be considered preloved. So share them with your friends and they in turn can share them with others.

There is no shame or embarassment in accepting preloved clothes. Feel complimented that your friend has chosen you to share her clothes. I tell them to pass them on if the clothes are not their size or taste. Do not be sensitive if they do not wear them. Do you like to be pressured to wear clothes that you feel do not suit you? The only problem is some friends greedily accept your clothes, never wear them and never gave them to others. They hoard their clothes and continue to hoard yours too! Solution - never share anything else with them anymore until they learn how to share!

Be Gracious and Humble

For the recepient, be polite and accept the clothes graciously. Do not feel offended or too proud to accept a kind offer. I like it when people give me their nice clothes. I love them for it. And its also an opportunity to be humble.

Some people feel they are too good to wear preloved clothes. You won't be offered any if the owner does not like you. I for one would not want someone I dislike to wear my clothes. I'd rather send them to a charity box by the roadside.

Give Only the Good Stuff

Remember, do not give away clothes that need mending; fix the buttons, wash, press and pack them neatly if you have the time. Do not give your friends or even strangers worn out, ugly and outdated clothes. Only the good stuff.

Respect Others

Do not think its alright to treat your dear friend with disrespect and expect her to be happy to accept our 'awful discards'. She may well decide to discard you in return for your unkind and insulting treatment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Loving Each Other for the sake of Allah

Muslims are supposed to maintain cordial relations with people around us. Friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives and also to extend cordial relations with the community and last but not least, to keep good relations with the world at large.

We are reminded to patient and fight only in self defense. Muslims are not aggressive in their manner but are reminded prepared to strive for justice and honour when necessary.

Do we have to care for one another?

How do we manage these affairs on a more personal level? We are told to care for each other in good times as well as in bad times. Every Muslim is part of the ummah - locally and universally.

Even Friends can Differ

Sometimes even friends cannot see eye to eye. Ideas and perceptions differ and priorities may vary extremely. When one is caught in the middle of a sticky situation, how do we extricate ourselves from the mess? Do we run away and leave them to slug it out? Not everyone handle differences civilly or with respect and restrain.

Mistakes are Learning Experiences

When upset many people say and do foolish things. No necessity to look too far - we only need to look at ourselves. We had been there, done that.... Yes, many of us did some real dumb things before. We take that as a learning experience to improve ourselves.

We are not always better than others but we can always strive to become better. People fight over all sorts of reasons. Some are trivial enough while others may have good and valid reason to become upset.

How do we help people who are still smarting from some sharp words or indulging in some destructive and useless self pity? And what about people who uttered some hurting remarks and do not seem to feel even a little ashamed of it? Sometimes we may think we are better than others. May Allah forgive us!

Healthy Diet - fresh food vs processed nutrition blends

Healthy Diet - do we try to count the calories or concentrate on nutritious food?

Some people claim we have to reduce our eating and should take some healthy meal substitutes that provide the necessary nutrition.

Processed vs Natural Real Foods

Others say we should not depend on processed 'nutrition' but go for quality fresh foods. The only kind of supplement we should use are natural ones - like virgin coconut oil, flax seed, magnesium oil, apple cider vinegar, yoghurt, olive oil and so on...

Quality Food Supplements may be Costly

Being so very busy rushing around daily, many people resort to the easy way out - very expensive quality food supplements and food replacement plans. The sales personnel will try their best to convince you that's the best way to keep fit and healthy.

While this may be helpful for some people, are they not missing on enjoying some real food that's provided for us by our Creator..

Simple and Quick Cooking Methods can Save the Day

If we choose quality fresh food and prepare them in a simple way it is not only superior to processed supplements but its definitely more tasty and satisfying.

Ever Heard of Steaming and Stir Fry?

We can control the calories by avoiding too much fried foods, high sugar foods and using good oils that are healthy for us. Olive oil is high recommended especially for salads and light cooking. Virgin coconut oil is rich in enzymes and will not make us put on weight. Palm Oil has no cholesterol and good for frying as it is relatively stable and neutral in taste.

Steaming food such as seafood, vegetables and even chicken is quick and simple, easy to clean up and easy to digest.

It may be convenient to drink a large glass of blended processed nutrients but wouldn't a glass of fresh juice or smoothie be more of a treat? Who would like to have a tropical fruit smoothie instead of a reconstituted flavoured shake that comes out of a cardboard cylinder?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dogs and Cats

Dogs and Cats! You either love them or hate them! Better to love than hate.

Muslims do not have to dislike dogs just because we are not allowed to keep them as pets. They make good guard dogs - ever tried using a cat or parakeet to guard your farm? All animals are Allah's creations.We are carers of the environment as Khalifah of Allah. (Vicegerent on Earth).

Even if You do not Love Them, do not Harm Them

Some people get so paranoid that the fear sometimes turn to hate. They pass this fear to their children by their speech and actions.

How to 'Purify' a Utensil licked by a Dog

Should a dog lick a plate or utensil meant for food, the plate has to be 'purified' or 'samak' by washing it with clay and rinsed a total of 7 times with clean water. In fact this purification applies only to dogs and not even pigs.

Many Animals are Victims of Society

Not all dogs are bad - some strays attack people maybe because people attack them all the time. Sometimes owners abandon them when they move out. Many strays are ill, hungry and unloved, taunted and hated. Do you expect them to love you in return?

Bad Cat! So Greedy!

A friend mentioned that she beat the house cat when it stole the fish meant for dinner. Bad cat! So greedy! I gently reminded her - a cat is an animal.

It cannot go to work or go into a shop to buy his own fish. It depends solely on the kindness of human beings who share the same planet with them. When a cat is hungry, it looks for food.

It didn't deserve to be punished! Humans sometimes expect animals to think and behave like them. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) she understood and became very kind, patient and generous to her furry friends.

Easy to Do Charity Daily

Why not feed the hungry and starving animals? Its charity every day. Does it feel good to enjoy all your meals knowing the strays are wondering when their next meal may come?

Every deed, big or small will be recorded by the malaikah (angels) as good deeds.

Time Does Really Fly!!!

Time Does Really Fly!!!

Time is simply fleeting... very quickly. If we do not make use of our time carefully, its gone - just like that! I used to grow up hearing adults talking about being bored, having nothing to do, playing cards or some useless games just to 'pass time".

Kill Time?
These days my reaction would be "WHAT?" Kill Time? Do you know you are actually wasting your life away on some useless and unsatisfying activity, all in the name of passing time?

Angel of Death waits for no one
Time is one of the most precious commodites that we may take for granted. We need to value it and use it very carefully. When the Angel of Death comes to take our souls, he will not delay even one minute and not even one second! We can never get even half a day to return to our worldly life to make good our promises to our Creator, to others and to ourselves.

Feeling Lazy?
Of course there are moments where we feel lazy or under the weather. Use these moments to relax and revitalise ourselves. Read a good book, write some letters or catch up on your hobby. Even a mid morning nap after a busy morning is fine as it gives us extra energy to get more out of our day.

Be Moderate in all things
Valuing time does not mean not taking a break or pushing ourselves till we drop. We need to be moderate - take care of our interests, our work, our responsibilities and our spiritual commitments. And make time for rest, recreation and regular exercise to maintain good health. Make time to take care of our body and soul.

Having said all that, I too must re prioritize my activities as we do sometimes get caught up in some unexpected events and have to refocus ourselves to make best use of our life and our time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baking Day again

I really enjoyed baking and cooking today! No schedule - do as I please.

Plain Porridge is good for a change

Made some porridge from parboiled rice - its fat and grainy. Just boil half a cup of raw rice grains in 4 to 5 cups water. Add more water if it is too thick. Sprinkle a few drops of oil, pepper and little salt. Serve with fried fish or small anchovies and fried tempeh. To make it more filling make an egg omelette with baby tomatoes, onion, coriander leaves and spring onions. That's easy enough to fry the condiments, especially with my little green pan.

Chicken Dinner - quick and easy!

Tonight I made Chinese style chicken marinated in little organic soy sauce, pounded ginger and garlic. Just pan fry it with very little oil in the green pan or non stick pan. Do not use non stick pan if the Teflon coating is damaged or scratched.

Decided to make some Thai Tom Yam chicken soup with lemon grass and broccoli. Seems like a lot of cooking? Well, I had been rather busy so I just make more of it to stretch to the next day. Just add fresh salad or a simple soup for variety.

Ate out last night. Pepperoni pizza and sphagetti. Really nice, at Satay vs Pizza, in USJ Taipan.

Chocolate Cakes

The bell just rang. My chocolate cakes are ready. Mmmm... my customers just love chocolate cakes! Also made 2 buttercakes this morning - the whole house smells of cakes!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tasty Baked Chicken for Dinner

Quick Tasty Chicken Dish

Made a quick chicken dish today. Used an antibiotic free chicken, medium sized.

How To:

Split the chicken open by cutting through the breast bone. Open and press it flat for even baking. It can also be cut up in large pieces.

Cut a large carrot, half a turnip, 1 large potato, 1 green and 1 red capsicum.
Chop 1 or 2 large onions.
Crush 2 - 3 pips of crushed garlic
Cut up 2 - 3 red tomatoes.

Use any vegetables that can soften easily but onions, carrots and tomatoes make the dish rich and flavourful.

Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoonsful of curry power liberally all over chicken and sprinkle enough rock salt to cover top of chicken. It won't be hot as I did not add extra chilli powder or dry chilies.

Rub the seasoning all over the chicken . You may have to add more liquid if your pot is large. More liquid can be added for some gravy but the flavour will be diluted.
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil can be added for flavour.

Seasonings : curry powder, white pepper, salt

Place the vegetables at the bottom of the heavy pot and add around half or more cup of water. Now place the 'flattened' chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover it with foil to prevent drying up and to retain the flavours.

Bake it at 180 deg C for 50 mins ( or until tender). May take over an hour if you do not split open the chicken.

Remove the foil when chicken is cooked through to brown the top.

This chicken is delicious eaten with bread, mashed potatoes or salad and soup.
Its a simple recipe that can be changed with the addition of other ingredients such as olives, herbs or some lemon juice .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Missing Mother

Though appreciated during her lifetime, no one will know how much he or she will miss mother until its too late. Memories of all her goodness live on but there will be a part of us that's missing.

The Passing of a Courageous Woman

Three months ago my own mother departed after an intense struggle of 3 weeks in the hospital. When we are ill we can only do what we can to get well - see the doctor, look for alternative medicine, exercise, change our diet etc. Always remember the power of prayer and supplication.

Allah Knows Best

The day we leave this worldly life has already been predetermined by Allah SWT. We don't know when but we have to try our best to take care of ourselves. After all the effort we leave everything in the hands of Allah SWT. He knows best.

Willed Herself to Walk Again

She had stroke a few years ago and had been ill with all sorts of pain, diabetes and high blood pressure. She was half paralysed but willed herself to walk again. She refused to lie down and disliked being dependant.

Productive at Any Age

She would cook for the family even though she did not have to. And even help do the dishes and sold her own baked cookies to raise money for charity and gifts.

Talented and Generous

Mother was a creative cook and loved drawing, sewing and embroidery. Her drawings hang in the homes of some special people and many enjoy her cross stitch bags and purses. I'm proud to have a mom like her and I miss her so very much.

How Good is Our Relationship?

We may have a good relationship with our parents but there will always be so many unspoken words - of saying sorry, of telling them how much they mean to us.

Remember the many years where they took care of us and sacrificed their wealth, rest and their own comfort to raise and guide us.

Mother's Day and Father's Day

King and Queen for a Day - once a year. Does that make sense?

Don't you agree that Mother's Day and Father's Day should be everyday? Why wait for the next year to tell her how special they are to us and how much we love them.


Pick up the phone and call home.