Tag Archives: Food

summer/ramadan updates 2015

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Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present, and what to plan for the future.

We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past.

The future influences the present as much as the past.

Greetings everyone, hope you’re all well! Just a quick update from my little corner in England. I noticed that several more people have started following my blog, a big thank you from me. If you read my ‘about me’ and ‘about my blog’ pages, you will have a glimpse of me as person and my reasons for blogging. Hope that will help you understand this blog a touch better. I don’t want to bore you should my blog not be your cuppa tea! Anyway, back to my chattering, we are right in the middle of summer here. In fact, it’s predicted to soar up to 30c in a few days! That’s just like back in my homeland, Malaysia. A bit too hot, to be honest! Typically, I prefer the English summer when it’s between 20-25c, with the breeze blowing gently. Even then I suffer from hay fever as pollen levels tend to be quite high when it’s warm. I guess I have to stay indoors a lot more or make sure I take my hay fever tablets regularly.

As for my fasting, we are on to our 12th day today, time flies, almost halfway through already. I am looking forward to the Eid celebration at the end of our month’s fasting, InshaAllah. A wonderful reward indeed after a bit of hardship in Ramadan. I remember the Eids during my childhood very well, where our friends and neighbours from different races and religions also joined us in our festivity. I miss those times very much, they were extra special for sure. I guess you can tell I’m a bit homesick, don’t you? As mentioned in my previous post, I can’t help but feel melancholy during the months of Ramadan and Syawwal. Oh well, life goes on as they say, as I flit between my memories of the past, dreams for the future to my present life here in England. Such is the nature of my blog it seems.

Even though I’m fasting, I’ve been busy with indoor/outdoor educational activities with my youngest two. It’s been good, I must say! Each season has it’s own charm here in England, I try to capture them in my blog now and then. As for the rest of the family; my hubby’s busy at work as usual (he needs a long break), my big girl is finishing off her summer term with numerous interesting school trips. My son who’s officially a school leaver after he completed his GCSEs in mid-June, is currently doing voluntary work at a local organisation to pass his time. He hopes to pursue A-Levels in September, inshallah. Right, enough rambling, time for some pictures! They were taken at a museum and at a country park, during our educational outings. I’ve also included a picture of one of our Ramadan iftars (dishes for breaking fast) at the end. I’m not a food blogger, one is sufficient, yeah? Okay, maybe two. Till next time, take care all!

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my youngest two dressed up as Tudor (500 years ago) ladies; one rich and the other one less fortunate

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my youngest as a Victorian girl (150 years ago)

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posing by an old fireplace

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they love exploring museums

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amazed to find an old typewriter

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I love this little water pump and barrel

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WW2 air raid shelter

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summer blooms everywhere

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lovely summer’s day up the hills

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my middle daughter during our hill walk

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we were with a group of home educators tracking down Iron Age sites (2000 years ago)

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our simple Ramadan iftar

followed by main meal, the one Malaysian dish I cook often, Chicken Rice

our main meal, the one Malaysian dish I cook often, Chicken Rice

brunch date

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Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.

The best thing in life is finding someone who knows all of your flaws and mistakes and weaknesses and still thinks you’re completely amazing.

It’s the first day of June today and I’m feeling as fresh as a daisy! My hubby and I have had enough crap from people by the time the weekend arrived, we therefore decided it’s time to focus on ourselves for a bit. As it happened, the ideal opportunity came up just at the right time. My son was occupied with his GCSE revision, my big girl and littlest girl were at their Saturday Arabic School and my middle daughter was away in the countryside for a residential trip. Such golden moments are very rare, so we grabbed it without further ado of course. This time we decided to venture further afield for a brunch date. I was so looking forward to it, almost like going out on a first date all over again!

We were spoiled for choice as to where to eat, but finally decided on a particular cafe based on the online Tripadvisor reviews. That’s one good thing about modern technology, I must admit. Food was exceptionally good, unlike our regular breakfast at our local Sainsbury supermarket cafe. It was a special treat, one we both deserved. We ate, chatted, laughed; it was a light, magical moment. Weather was perfect too, beautiful in fact. Blue sky, cotton wool clouds, 14c with no wind. Who would have thought a simple outing like this could bring out the best in us both? We made a mental note to go out on more dates in the near future, God Willing.

can you spot me?

can you spot me at the cafe?

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latte for me and chai for my hubby

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full english breakfast with duck’s eggs and bubble and squeak for hubby

my salmon egg benedict

my eggs benedict with salmon and chives topped with hollandaise sauce

hubby and I

hubby and I

After dining for an hour, we went for a stroll. The area we were at had many boutiques and bespoke stores, it was a great place for window shopping. We were like a young couple once more; giggling away at this and that, discovering hidden gems together. We ended by a bench overlooking a beautiful park, laughing away like mad as we tried to take a selfie together. My hubby said it was like getting to know me once more, I felt the same. It’s so easy to lose yourselves when you’ve been married for almost 2 decades, what more when there’s 4 children as well. It hadn’t been easy raising a family all on our own. But (Alhamdulillah) we managed somehow and now we can have a breather as the children are all older.

It’s time for us again now I hope, aside from being mom and dad we also want to focus on being ‘you and I’. It’s not in our culture to leave our children with babysitters, so that’s out of question I’m afraid. But we look forward to more opportunities such as this brunch date in the near future, as our children will have more commitments of their own as they grow up. Anyway, I leave you with some pictures I took from our brunch date, as always, not everything can be captured. You will certainly lose the essence of your special moment if you keep snapping away. Have a good week ahead folks! To fellow Muslims, our countdown to Ramadan has certainly begun!

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an aladdin’s cave we discovered

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leisurely stroll by a historical building

awesome architecture

awesome architecture

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we strolled passed my dream hotel, maybe a 1 nite stay on our silver anniversary?

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Sitting on the bench together reminds me of this song; our happy moment, Alhamdulillah! 

february gloom

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Greetings again everyone! Are we still in wintry, grey February, by any chance? It is the shortest month in the year, but here in England, it seems like the longest month ever! Because Spring is round the corner (supposedly), most people here just want February to end quickly and make way to the warmer, colourful March. But such is not the case of course. February lingers on, like an annoying relative who just wouldn’t leave (just an expression, I don’t have any annoying relatives, at least, I don’t think so anyway). Oh well, you just have to find some clever ways to beat the gloom I suppose!

my son, a picture of permanent gloom, can't wait for his GCSEs to be over!

my son, a picture of permanent gloom, can’t wait for his GCSE exams to be over!

As for me, I decided to join a weekly evening yoga class (set up for women in the community). I just can’t tell you how good it felt afterwards. It’s just the thing for me right now, I love it. Having some time to yourself is extremely crucial for busy moms like me. As a home educator, I always have my children with me. Therefore it is necessary to create some ‘me’ time to avoid feeling ‘burnt out’. Apart from that, I also had the opportunity to attend the local inter-faith gathering this month (my hubby’s an active participant). It has certainly broaden my horizon in many ways, meeting many lovely people from different backgrounds but with one common goal. The aim is to foster greater peace, understanding and equality in our global society. I felt rather overwhelmed when a couple of them approached me to have a chat, they knew I was my hubby’s other half. My hubby ensured I was introduced to several of them. I hope to attend such gatherings more regularly now. I feel that it’s important to make a difference in any small meaningful way I possibly can, especially in today’s complex world, seemingly full of hatred and violence. These great words of the famous Sufi poet Rumi struck me:

Beyond our ideas of right doing and wrong doing,

There is a field. I’ll meet you there. 

When the soul lies down in that grass,

The world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, languages, even the phrase ‘each other’ 

don’t make sense any more.

My older two when small, at peace. I wonder what sort of world their future holds

My older two when small, at peace. I wonder what sort of world their future holds

I continue to home educate the younger two now that the older two are at secondary level

I continue to home educate the younger two now that the older two are at secondary level

All that aside, delicious food almost always cheer us up of course! As mentioned before, I’m not a food blogger, I don’t make it a habit to display what I cook daily. But from time to time, I guess I don’t quite mind sharing a few dishes. I cook a variety of food; mainly Indian and Western. I don’t really cook Malay cuisines that much anymore, even though I used to love them a lot. These days my big daughter is in the kitchen too; she loves baking cakes, desserts and making her very own home-made ice-creams. I’m not one for sweet dishes much, I wasn’t raised that way. We tend to focus solely on the main meal usually! But my hubby has a sweet tooth, just like the majority of the British people. So I guess it’s good that his big daughter loves preparing the last course! Okay folks, I have to end my chattering here. Hope to see you again in March, all being well! In the meantime, I shall be patient as I hang on to the last few days of February with this quote:

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

my big daughter, loves her books (like the rest) and preparing sweet treats!

my big daughter, loves her books (like the rest) and preparing sweet treats!

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my curry spice pot, lamb bhuna; my big daughter’s butterfly cupcakes, raspberry tart

winter wanderings 2

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A thousand apologies! I know I have abandoned my blog, big time! I have been busier than usual ever since the winter holidays began last mid-December. We also had some guests staying over recently, and then my children came down with chicken pox one by one. Anyway, it’s never too late as they say, so let’s resume blogging! If you have read my Winter Wanderings post, you will recall I stopped just as we were heading into the buffet restaurant called Za Za Bazaar in Bristol (prior to that we visited The Bristol Science Centre). The Christmas atmosphere was apparent inside the restaurant, they had Xmas crackers on their tables, my little ones got really excited by it. By this time, however, my middle daughter was feeling a bit under the weather, she went a bit quiet. She couldn’t eat much either, poor thing.

The rest of us enjoyed ourselves, I especially liked the Indian selection out of their fusion buffet. Afterwards we had a little stroll by the harbour before heading to Papa’s office. My hubby was on leave but we popped by to say farewell to his lovely receptionist, who was heading back to Ireland after working in Bristol for 7 years. My middle daughter had befriended her for the past few months or so, it all started when she gave my girls notebooks and writing papers. My daughter scribbled her a thank you note and from then on they wrote to each other regularly and exchanged little presents too. The girls were tired out by the time we headed home, but they had a memorable winter’s day altogether. Right, time to bid farewell, I shall try to be back as soon as I can. It’s cold here by the way, 3c during day, -1c at night!

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pulling cracker with papa

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reading the message inside, she found a spinning top in her cracker

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her sister checking her cracker out slowly, she wasn’t feeling too well

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hmm, not quite sure what she was thinking about

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happy with her desserts

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my first round, Indian of course!

quite a good selection at Za Za Bazaar

good selection at Za Za Bazaar, halal options available

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view by Bristol harbour

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that’s Za Za Bazaar in view

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with my hubby’s receptionist, my girls very fond of her

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Xmas tree at hubby’s office

they had a memorable day!

they had a memorable winter’s day!

 

ramadan ramblings 2

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Greetings all! I noticed many searches for ‘Ramadan Iftar Food’ on my blog, well, I’ve compiled them here for you! I cook very simple meals, nothing too complicated! I mentioned in my previous post how we can’t really eat much during this year’s 19 hour fast here in the UK, well it’s true! By the time we break our fast at dusk (around 9.30pm), pray Maghrib and eat the main meal, it’s already 10.30pm. Which means we only have 4 hours left before we resume fasting, Suhoor (the morning meal) ends around 2.45am! We’re still kind of full from Iftar but it’s encouraged to eat a bit more to get us going for the next day! Suhoor is like breakfast time for us; cereals, toasts and buns usually. This Ramadan has proven to be the most challenging one so far, I pray God make it easier for me in the days to come! I’ve included 2 more Ramadan songs below; one melodious and calm, the other very upbeat and will wake you up for sure! Someone like me needs to be woken up big time this Ramadan! I wish all of you peace and blessings in this holy month, remember us in your prayers…

Note : My food photos not intended to entice you whilst fasting in Ramadan, nor is it to show off my moderate cooking skills. They are for those looking for simple dishes to prepare in this blessed month. Thank you.

Don’t miss out on my previous Ramadan posts! 

my simple Ramadan dishes for iftar

my simple Ramadan dishes for Iftar

The upbeat one!

The calm melodious one!