Saturday, June 25, 2016

Winter 2016 : Homemade keropok lekor in Manchester!

Oh yes, I made keropok lekor in Manchester!

From WikipediaKeropok lekor is a traditional Malay fish snack originated from the state of Terengganu, Malaysia. It is also called fish sausage, fish stick, or fish fritters. It is made from fish and sago flour and seasoned with salt and sugar. The origin of the word "Lekor" is said to be derived from Terengganu Malay which means "roll".

We went to our favourite fishmonger to get fresh mackerels. I clean, fillet and blend it.
Then mix it with flour and lekor it.
Finally, deep fry it. 

Winter 2016 : Borrowing books

After the Maulidur Rasul celebration, we went to the local library, register the kids as a member and borrow some books. Their teachers said they need to read more, so I asked them to choose and borrow 8 books each - the maximum allowed for 2 weeks. They were excited to use the self-checkout machine at the library (well, I did as well when I first borrowed books from my university library!).
Look at those I-dont-want-to-read-8-books faces. LOL!

Winter 2015 : Maulidur Rasul celebration in Manchester

There were built up events on Saturdays before the main Maulidur Rasul celebration in Malaysian supplementary school in Manchester. The kids participated in poster and card design competitions, learned about the Prophet Muhammad, watch educational movies and learned the selawat

On the real day, they participated in nasyid competition and Maulidur Rasul quiz. And they bring home a lot of present from the competitions and quiz. Well done! 
Our first photo in baju kurung and baju melayu together, taken in front of our house. It was freezing cold outside!

Winter 2016 : Chocolate chunk cookies

I didnt have chocolate chips at home, so I cut topping chocolate into small chunks, and fold it in the batter. These yummy chocolate chunk cookies only last for 24 hours!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Winter 2016 : EU Referendum

The result is out today - it is Brexit.

Well, good luck UK! I might have limited understanding on the impact because I only look at it from international trade perspective. I am sure there are a lot of gains in other areas - politics, security, etc. Brexit is interesting. A lot of new things to learn :)

The best feeling..

...is when you managed to settle your student loan earlier than expected. okbai.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nazran

It was too, a pleasant session. We were the last one. I purposely wait until the last minutes so we can chat with the teacher longer :) 
 The workbooks:
His classroom. They have a huge touch screen TV in front of the class. The students always watch educational videos before they went home, or while waiting for the parents to pick them up.
 
Nazran didnt have to bring any stationery or book to the class. No bag as well. Since he is in Year 2, he is entitled to get free healthy snack and dinner (lunch). It was a fun year for him. For me as well, to see him really enjoy attending school without any bag.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nabil

A few days after a meeting with Nazreen's teacher, it is Nabil's turn.
It was really impressive to see him art work being displayed at the gallery. Our discussion was around his artwork especially his history of Manchester project. He also has a lot of reading and catching up to do.

They learned about Earth and Space this term. They designed a space buggy.
Nabil's design:
These are the report in his book:
They also learned about Ancient Mayans this semester. I was surprised to know about this. This is a very good exposure for their age!
Nabil's ancient Mayans' mural made it to the gallery:
I am proud to see the comment by the teacher in his book. It is really good to know that they actually record everything, every artwork (scanned and printed), in the workbook. 
The kids will have a very good memory of the school, their teachers, friends and their study when they came back to Malaysia this year.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nazreen

It was a pleasant session to discuss about Nazreen's progress with his beautiful teacher. Although he has a serious catching up to do (due to the difference between Malaysian & UK syllabus), but Nazreen is progressing well. He needs to read more.

Winter 2016 : Road cleaner

This is how they clean the road.

Winter 2016 : Homemade clean dough

I am busy shaping the dough and Nazmi wanted to help. I made him a clean dough. The kind of dough that does not stick to your hand or any surfaces and smells nice too. I just mix a plain flour with dish washing liquid. It is good to go.
It keeps him occupied for the whole day.

Winter 2016 : Doughnut hole, cakoi and burger Malaysia

After the final exam, I didnt have anything to worry about (not even my grades - I'll cross the bridge when I get there). I cooked a lot.
This was my first attempt to rise the dough. I put it by the window, to get the heat from the sunlight (the glass blocks the harmful UV rays, but I am not sure about the heat haha). It rose a bit. Then I placed the bowl in front of the portable heater. It worked, after nearly one hour. lol. After the agony of waiting for the dough to rise, my friend texted me a very useful tip - put the dough in the pre-heated oven. Gonna do that next time!
 Doughnut holes are ready. I filled them with custard and rolled it in sugar.
Then I made some cakoi (left plate, below), a deep-fried dough, originated from China. It is originally called Youtiao. Cakoi is a popular snack for tea time in Malaysia, you can eat it just like that or dip it in a peanut or sweet sauce. Chinese usually eat youtiao with rice porridge for breakfast.
I have some dough left, I made these savoury evening snack. I didnt know the name but since my friends called it burger Malaysia, so, let's call it Burger Malaysia too. It is a deep fried dough, filled with a slice of cucumber and sambal tumis (Chili fried with belacan shrimp paste, onions, garlic, tamarind juice. Tumis means "stir fry") with anchovies.

Winter 2016 : Cross the bridge when you get there (Matthew Alford, 2016)

We had a pathway dinner at a Chinese restaurant after the final exam, to celebrate the end of the first semester. 
I am so thankful that I finally decided to join this dinner. I was extremely worried about the exam grade to the point that it was so hard to sleep at night and also hard to wake up and face the reality in the morning. I just think about the grade the whole day. 

Somehow, during the dinner, I found that almost half of the pathway have the same concern and went through miserable daily life as I was since the final exam. Well I guess it is normal haha. 

I had a chat with my personal tutor during the dinner and he reminded me to "..cross the bridge when you get there". The grade will not be released until the next month and I should enjoy my life during the break. No point of worrying the whole time. It totally change my life.

Sometimes, it just took the right person to say the right thing at the right time.

Winter 2016 : Post-snowman

This is how we dry the gloves.

Winter 2016 : No green

When your eyes are really tired from reading and staring at the computer screen, you look out of the window to see some greens to relax... and you only see these:
It does add a considerable amount of stress on top of your exam stress.

Winter 2016 : Snow in January

We are going to miss this view.
From my bedroom window.
Our neighbours asked us to join them to the Heaton Park (a large park with hills covered with snows and you can sledge there) at 7am but I need to study. I am one day away from my final exam. 

Kids are having fun around the house, playing with what's left from yesterday's evening. So it doesnt matter if we dont go to the Heaton Park. Nazran went inside after 10 minutes because he cant stand the cold.
It was really hard to roll the snow to make a huge ball. I gave up half way. It was painfully cold working with a wet snow. Someone wore my snow gloves and I ended up with thin wool gloves. It got wet pretty quick.
They made these. 
They rolled the snowball at other area with thick snow and put the parts together in front of our house. I have a bowl of warm water ready for them if their fingers started to feel painfully cold.
The snowmen were still standing later that day (and the next day). I keep checking every 10 minutes because I was studying by the window. I saw passers-by took photographs and selfies with these snowmen. lol.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Winter 2016 : Crochet sleeve for Aiskrim Malaysia

When it was snowing outside, we enjoyed it by eating aiskrim Malaysia inside!
When Nazmi said he cant hold his ice cream because it is too cold, I made this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Winter 2016 : What is that? asked Nazran. Hey, it is snowing outside!!!

....and everybody ran out the door. Extremely happy to see and touch snow for the first time.

We were on Skype, chatting with my parent when Nazran asked me what are those white thing falling down outside. It took me almost 20 seconds to digest. Leaves falling? Autumn is over. Bugs? No bugs flying in the winter. Kids throwing confetti outside? Maybe. Hmmm... or maybe it is a big raindrop? ice? SNOW??

It is snow, alright.
We just spent a few minutes outside. It was freezing cold. Alhamdulillah the snow is sticking. At 8pm, it is getting thicker. We gave a chance for the kids to go out and play with the snow. We spend less then 10 minutes outside. No one can stand the cold so I asked them to bring the snow inside. haha.
At 11pm, we went out again. It was a pure joy seeing them running around, having a snowball fight (well, it wasnt fun to be the target) and giggling. 
Designer cowl in action *ehem* :)
 
My snow kids
 

Winter 2016 : Really serious frost

We have experienced frost a few times before. It gave us false hope for snow. This is so far the most 'serious' frost. It was so hard to scrap it off the windshield when we want to send Nazran to his school that morning. 
At this point of time (January 2016) we have stop hoping for snow +_+ Some people said there will be no snow in Greater Manchester this year although some parts of the UK have snowstorm. Life goes on. 
 

Winter 2015 : Waiting for Nazran at school

Cant stop admiring these games on the tarmac. Great idea to keep the students occupied during their break.
 

Winter 2015 : Daffodils

I went to the campus to check the venue of my final exam. On the way back, I saw these beautiful things coming out of the ground!
Spring is in the air!

Winter 2015 : Winter Solstice 2015

22 December 2015.
Shortest day. Longest night. The sun is at its lowest point in the sky at this part of the world.
Sunrise: 8.04am
Sunset: 3.53pm

The problem in winter:
You cook for lunch on weekends (weekdays the kids are at school) and it already getting dark when you finished doing your dishes and clean the kitchen. Then, suddenly your kids come and ask when they are going to have dinner. It is only 4pm.

It is a new thing for us. 
It gets dark very early. We were confused. The night seems sooooooo long. When the kids arrived from school, it is already night. The next morning, when they left home for school, it still dark (and rainy!).

We went to sleep at 6pm because we didnt know what else to do. It was really cold, so no point of watching TV downstairs. Then we woke up at 11pm, feeling like we have been sleeping for ten hours and wondering how long we have to put up with this kind of weather. We just went downstairs to cook and eat, the rest of the day, we spent under the duvet.

By the end of winter, Nabil and Nazreen gained 10kg.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Winter 2015 : Solat time in winter

Many people asked me about solat time during winter. Subuh is late. Solat times are short. I have class at 10-12noon, 12-2pm and 2-5pm on Mondays (luckily I only have three sessions of 5-7pm class earlier this semester. It ended before winter). In between 12-5, I need perform Zuhur, Asar and Maghrib. It was quite hectic. I seek advise from a couple of people whether it is permissible to combine the solat (jamak) since I have a packed schedule on Mondays. The answer is yes.

Usually, we were released 10-15 minutes earlier so we can walk to the next venue. I usually walk really fast to the next lecture room (or if the next classroom is still occupied, I go to the next classroom), eat my packed lunch, take ablution and wait for Zuhur. I usually perform my Zuhur and Asar (jamak) in any empty and dark classroom, then run to the lecture at 12noon. I never worried about my seat if I arrive a bit late because I love to seat in the front row and it is usually empty ;) I just perform my solat in whatever cloth I am wearing.

But, when Zuhur is a bit later than 12, I performed my solat in between class 12-2 and 2-5. Same routine. Walk fast, take ablution, pray anywhere. I have no choice because when the class ended, it is nearly Isyak. Again, I have to find any corner and perform Maghrib and Isyak (jamak). It is already dark and not so many people around. Then I take the bus, for a one hour journey home. 

The whole experience was extremely fun! (Minus the paranoia walking home alone in the dark after getting off the bus - *every person I met is a potential killer* *everybody wear hoodie at night* *wear trainer everyday, prepare to run* *too much movie*) 

This is the solat time in December 2015.