Saturday, April 9, 2011

Can I Have Some of Your Lilies?

 I have been nurturing this lily species for quite some time now.  The row of bulbs I planted a few months back are presently flowering profusely, much to my delight.  To tell you frankly, not all the flowers and plants I have in my small garden were bought from nurseries; in fact, most of them were given to me by friends all over the place.

This flower in particular was given to me by one of the cleaners in a school where I was invigilating.  I was taking a breather from my duty, walking around the examination hall taking in the sights, when I chanced upon this small pot crowded to the brim with lily plants, the bulbs protruding from the soil.  I was so fascinated by the shades of pink of the flower that I braved myself and asked the cleaner for one lily bulb.  To my delight, she gave me ten lily bulbs! 

This lily flowers continuously, but in this tropical weather of ours, the blooms don't last for more than two days. However, I am enjoying the fruits of my labour; or in this case the blooms of my labour!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Take at Banana Cake!

I was actually feeling rather tired after driving for one hour today after a whole day of examining some candidates for a local oral examination.  I always feel that cooking is the best way for me to relax as it seems to take my mind off thinking about work.  I noticed that I still had three very ripe bananas, so the obvious choice would be for me to bake a banana cake albeit for the first time.  It may not have looks, but what it lacks in beauty, it makes up many times fold in taste and texture!
  • 3 bananas, mashed (I used 'berangan')
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • 180g butter
  • 4 tbs fresh milk
  • 3 medium-sized eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pecal Azizah

The salad part consisting of blanched bean sprouts,
long beans, kangkong and tapioca shoots.

 It is strange how your memory of someone tends to become more intense as a significant date about that person draws near.  As for me, I have been having this sudden craving to have 'Pecal', and I found it difficult to stop thinking about it!  And today as I was preparing all the ingredients to make this tradititonal salad, all in the way my mother used to teach me, it dawned upon me that the reason for this was, today would have been my mother's 71st birthday!

The salad is tossed with a dressing made from
dried chilis, shallots, shrim paste, tamarind juice,
peanuts and cekur roots.

The most special thing about this salad is not in the salad itself, but in the way how it was taught to me by my mother!  I remember sitting beside her as she painstakingly prepared everything from beginning to end, all the time telling me about the finer points of making the dish, giving some tips on making it taste better and keep longer and persistently making sure I remembered and understood; which until now, I still do, with a note of gratitude from the depth of my heart.

Like I said, this salad is special to me because of the way my mother taught me how to make it!  You may have your version of 'Pecal', which in any case may taste better, but mine is superior to me, thanks to my mother!