Sunday, 8 May 2016

Preparing For The Beloved Month of Quran

SubhanAllah, we are less than a month away from Ramadan. 

With things settling down in the family, I am thankful there is some time at least now to prepare for Ramadan.

Managed to pen down the list of thing to get done, and polish up on pace of reading the Quran, I am struggling with this especially, and some other learning goals I had set myself, but I really hope to achieve them this Ramadan

Embarking on a cleaning spree (especially in the kitchen), packing re-usable items for giving away, planning leave and off schedules at work, settling gifts for family here and abroad. Somehow, it's always sprucing up the house that needs additional motivation as I dread it when some undone chores get pushed into Ramadan.

And of course, coming with a sensible Quran-reading plan that I can strive to stick to, In-Shaa-Allah. These are the top of my to-do agenda right now and pushing myself to get all these done at least a couple of days before Ramadan.

Please keep me, and all of the Ummah, especially those suffering in Syria right now in your duas. May Allah (S.W.T) shower his mercy on all of us as we prepare our minds and souls for Ramadan.
AZ and I were around Arab Street, where Sultan Mosque, is and had some quiet moments to ourselves.

Sharing Recipes

As mentioned in the earlier post, I thought I would share three recipes that I have made for the family in these few weeks. (Yes, another wannabe food blog post)

These were fairly simple and came out tasting very decent, so sharing for sisters who would like to add some South Indian vegetarian dishes into their menus. And nice recipes are meant for sharing, aren't they?

Baby potatoes masala
Vathal kuzhambu/Vathal curry

For a long time, I have always wanted to try cooking dishes with these two vegetables - baby potatoes and turkey berry (Vathal in Tamil).

And so, I made these on two different days and they did not disappoint, Alhamdhulilah. AZ loves potatoes masala.  In our family, besides the both of us, Mum is the other vegetarian food lover.
Brother and Dad will usually prefer that we have meat dishes to compliment.

Rasam is a must with potatoes masala for us, and we added chicken masala. And with the Vathal Curry, we actually had fish fry which made a nice combination with rice.

Vathal Curry
Coriander powder - 1tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Tumeric powder - 1- tsp
3 Cloves of garlic
Tamarind juice
mustard seeds
6 Small onions
Fresh turkey berries
Salt to taste

Mum always says small onions make dishes like these tastier, so I added this that day into the vathal curry. You could also add sundried turkey berries (more commonly) than fresh ones. Since Father had bought some of the fresh ones, we used them.

I could have been a little more generous with the tamarind juice as the gravy turned out a lil too thick. Other than that, it was a tangy dish and something I will definitely try again, In-Shaa-Allah.

Baby Potatoes Masala
Baby potatoes - slightly roasted
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves
2 Onions
Tumeric Powder - 1tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp

Mum helped to slice these vegetables for me and realised it would have been nice to have left the baby potatoes as a whole. Next time, In-Shaa-Allah.

And now coming to the main dish I have been wanting to share. During the first week of Mum's post-surgery recovery period, AZ suggested that giving her mutton leg soup, to ease her recovery process.

This dish is one which I would have thought takes up a lot of time and efforts and, is something which I would have never thought of experimenting with. But Mum gave me the confidence to give it a shot as she gave me instructioms from where she was seated.

And with Allah's mercy, the dish was lovely. I made it twice withion a span of two weeks. On both times, I did not take shots of the dish (only because I was too drained after all the household chores in those weeks).

I am not comfortable posting someone else's hard work as an image on my blog - even for example.
Will post an image if we make this at home again, In-Shaa-Allah.

Mutton Leg Soup
1/2 kg of mutton leg pieces
3 spoons of coriander powder
1 spoon of cumin powder
5 tbsps of ginger garlic paste
Spices - cardamon, star anises, cloves, cinnamon
Cashew and almond paste
2 big tomatoes and a combination of big and small onions.
Salt to taste and water as necessary.

Saute the necessary spices and meat pieces in oil and mix all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
Simmer and leave on the stove for 3 hours.

Garnish  with coriander and mint leaves.

In-Shaa-Allah, if your family is craving for tasty soup in Ramadan, do try this dish, In-Shaa-Allah.
And when you decide to, please keep my family and me in your duas.

Jazak Allahu Khair.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sabr And Shukr

It has been quite a while really. I decided to take a break from this space to tend to the family, but I didn't expect three months to fly by so quickly, Masha'Allah.

Mum underwent a minor surgery on two of her toes. Although the surgery was deemed minor, she had to rest at home, with a lot of pampering for two whole months. A well-deserved one, definitely.

Alhamdhulilah, from her pre-surgery checks ups to follow-ups, Allah (S.W.T) has showed us immense kindness by bringing warm-hearted people into our lives - from doctors, to nurses to friends.

In the days she needed complete rest on her feet, I had to try, and try, very hard to manage the household like she did. It sure wasn't any easy feat. SubhanAllah, for Mothers and what they do.

Every trial is a blessing. It helped that Mum stayed upbeat about getting up on her feet and encouraged us all to stay positive too.

Along these months, I picked up some very tasty (and healthy dishes) which I have made the niyyah to share on this blog very soon, In-Shaa-Allah.

Mum has been a very patient teacher on these days too (ahem...very unlike her!) and I have made good use of that and learnt many things.

During this time, AZ had to be on two-week trip to India to help resolve issues at home. So, it sure was quite emotionally draining (and physically too, for me) on both of us.

One Sister shared something very meaningful with me at these times - that we need to live on with two aspects. Sabr and  Shukr. Patience and Gratitude. SubhanAllah.

After two weeks of being on leave from work and working from home, Mum had to be home on her own, as by this time, she could walk up and needed that walking as a form of therapy in the healing process.

My biggest worry was on how she was going to fill that time before we were home - since she could not be doing any of the things she would normally do.

I thought hard on this,  and decided on colouring as a therapy for her.   And she loved it, Alhamdhulilah.

Mum's Thasbih, spectacles and her art materials which kept her happily occupied.
She really enjoyed colouring on these books, besides the time she spent on dhikir. This is one of her colourful pieces below. My close friend, D, who came to visit Mum, was pleasantly surprised that Mum has been into colouring too.

This book is based on the story, Jack and the Beanstalk. This is actually a children's colouring book, and not a book for adults as Mum found the latter too tedious and taxing on her eyes.
In all, she's been well, Alhamdhulilah. I have found some time off from work, to get some "me-time". And as always, splurging on books and stealing time to read them (every now and then) perks me up.

My Happy 'Pills' as always!
Of course, I have not completed all of them but started on some. For the past two months, I have been trying to spend more time with the Quran (in preparation for Ramadan), so have been feeling a lil 'guilty' whenever I am reading, especially a fiction novel.

Talking about fiction books, its been ages since I picked up one of these reads. Just some weeks back, a colleague of mine came back from lunch, grinning and shared with me her loots from this new-found treasure around one of the malls, near where we work at.

For the benefit of those reading this post from Singapore, this Bargain Books Corner is at Big Box (the mall near Jurong East). They have been stacking books outside the plaza area too at Level 1. It's hard not to see them on display. They are books of all genre, children's books included.

And I bought these from there too. For a time after Ramadan, Im-Shaa-Allah.

Simple things in life that make complicated moments easier. All of us are going through some trials almost every moment in our lives. When we thank HIM for all that we have, and have patience and faith in HIS plans always, life becomes more palatable, In-Shaa-Allah.

So, let's stay positive, spread good words and good thoughts and stay in duas.

At this moment, I remember all of our Ummah who are fighting their own battles and make duas that our Rabb makes our jouney of struggles towards Jannah a meaningful one.