Greetings from the Al-Abidaat

Dear all,
This blog is initially a place for the three people who write in it to share our thoughts on life. However, if any of our pieces benefit and interest you, we welcome you to share your thoughts on comments. Thank you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Pie

   I do feel rather guilty actually. I intended my entries to be more on information and reviews on Islamic matters, but what I've done most so far is write all my dark and gloomy thoughts on life as well as about food. I actually have several entries on my baking adventures pending their posting, but I've held back because it seems rather frivolous to think and write about food all the time!

   But when you're wolfing down vanilla ice-cream topped with home-made chocolate sauce at the unearthly hour of 12.00 am, you don't stop to think much. I'm afraid I don't have any fat to worry about any fat building up by eating in the middle of the night, and if I get indigestion I'll just bear with it when I do.

Vanilla ice-cream + homemade chocolate sauce @ 12 a.m.
   

   After finishing two cups of irresistibly delicious vanilla ice-cream, I decided to share this lovely recipe for chocolate fudge pie!!! Oh it isn't mine of course, but it's lovely so there you are! It also happens to be one of the easiest thing to make in the whole world wide world, which is perhaps exaggerating a bit but oh well.

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Ingredients:
(Can I add it's so easy that I remember the ingredients without having to look at them again?)

2 cups sugar
1/cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 all-purpose flour
1 cup butter (I used margerine. Worked out okay.)
4 eggs (beat 'em in a bowl first using a fork)

How to do it:
(Can I say it's so simple you can practically do it with your eyes shut? Well, maybe that is going a little too far)

1. Whisk sugar, cocoa powder and flour in a bowl

2. Melt butter (or margarine) in a saucepan over medium heat. 

3. Cool butter a little, then pour into dry ingredients (or the other way round. Doesn't matter [I think] as long as they're mixed. Hah!) 

4. Beat in eggs. Beat using a whisk or whatever comes in handy (not your hand!!!) until well mixed. 

5. Pour into 10-inch pie pan (I used a 9-inch tart pan) and bake at 170 C until a crust forms on top.
(Or you could stick a cake tester or toothpick into it, and when it comes out clean and dry, it's done!!!)

[You can get the original recipe and instructions here]

   What did I tell you? Easy as a pie. Oh, I forgot. It is a pie! Well, sort of anyway. It's actually a fudgy kind of brownie, stickier. And very, very sweet. Too sweet, actually for me, though Dad loves it of course. He's got a sweet tooth. Mum though, says I should halve the sugar next time. I think I will, or at least only use 1 and 1/2 cups instead of 2.

   I would advice using granulated sugar or castor sugar because you're just mixing everything by hand. Otherwise you can taste the sugar in the pie while eating it (at least I did). And yes, one of the lovely things about this dessert is you only need one measuring cup, one bowl, a hand whisk and a saucepan. Cleaning up was a breeze, as of of the reviews said!

   The centre of the pie will puff up a bit even though there's no baking powder used, but it'll sink back down once you take it out. At least mine did.

My Chocolate Fudgy Fudge Pie. Hah!

   Hold on! We're not done. You have to make the chocolate sauce that goes with it! Actually, I came across this recipe when I searched for a chocolate sauce recipe that did not use chocolate bars. We've run out of those, but we have plenty of cocoa powder. Too much of it, actually, I've used quite a number of recipes using cocoa powder and the one packet we have hasn't run out just yet!

   Anyway, I found a nice and simple recipe for the sauce on www.food.com which is a pretty cool site where home-makers share recipes with each other. This particular sauce got pretty good reviews from the people who've tried them, and one recommended making them to be eaten with the fudge pie above. I was delighted out of my wits when I saw the recipe. Just 5 ingredients! And all easy-to-be-found ones too! The chocolate sauce looked pretty simple too.

   Okay, I'll stop and give you the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 pinch salt

How-to-dos:

1. Whisk and combine cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a deep pan or pot.

2. Gradually pour in water and stir until well combined.

3. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for three minutes while stirring continuously; reduce heat if mixture looks like it wants to jump out of the pot.

4. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

5. Strain through a fine strainer into an airtight container. Keep in fridge and use when needed (how practical that sounds!)

[You can get the original recipe and instructions here]

   Easy!!! Make sure you use a pot that contain three times as much as the whole ingredients after they've been mixed before you cook them. I used a pot that could carry only twice the amount, and when the sauce started boiling I nearly lost half of it because so much had boiled over! It was a mess, and one that I had to clean up or little critters would be all over it in the next hour. But it was worth it! I'd never made chocolate sauce before (or at least as far as I remember) and this one was really good- not too sweet, and the consistency just fine! Not too thick or too watery. You can keep it in the fridge for quite some time. We still have a lot left since we didn't too much of it.

My Version of Dark Chocolate Sauce

   And here's how you eat 'em!

Well, okay, this was taken from the original recipe. Not mine.

This is mine. Not bad, huh? Haha.

   Delicious! 

   I think I'll go and have another helping of ice-cream. They say vanilla ice-cream is excellent for toothache. I don't know how true that is, but I say excellent!  It goes so well with the chocolate sauce and the fudgy fudge pie. And just as excellent with just the sauce.


   Happy trying!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gloomy Thoughts

   KakNgah here. And she's a bit gloomy. What should she write?

Thinking of what to say...
  
   Not long ago, we celebrated the coming of the new Hijrah Year. Nice number too- 1432. A chance for all to turn over a new leaf. Start over. Leave the bad and embrace the good. Insya-Allah.

   And now 2011 is coming. It's coming and it will arrive quite soon. In other terms it's probably not that significant, but it does mean that the new semester will start soon.

   A new semester means that I will soon be going to school to teach. That's pretty scary enough, I should think.

   But it also means returning to another place for two weeks before that... and I'm not quite sure what I feel about it.

   I trust that Allah knows best and I put my full trust in Him to guide me. Please let the next semester be a good one. I do want to leave with fresh bad memories. Let only the ones that I already have remain, and only as lessons for remembrance. I do not wish to build new ones. What I already have is enough.

   We are adults now. If we cannot learn to forgive others for their mistakes, then don't live among people. Go, and be a hermit. Live in a cave. Live somewhere where there are no other human beings.

   I am saying this to myself as much as to everyone else. In fact, I say this because I have experienced it. I know what it's like to feel angry at others and feeling that it;s difficult to forgive them for what the have done to you.

   I also know what it's like to have your apologies rejected.

   But as I always say, Allah knows best. Perhaps they did not mean it the way I though they did. However, I meant what I said. I asked for forgiveness. I forgave. I said thank you. Every single word that I said or wrote came from my heart. I meant them. Know that. Friends. If you still consider me one of yours.

   Not that any one of you would ever read this. If you do, then I hope you understand.

   If you don't, then let these words stay and rot here on their own. Well, they probably won't since after I click on 'Publish Post', they shall start living in the virtual world. They won't rot. So unless I delete them, they'll stay here and there's every chance that you people will stumble across this insignificant entry and read it.

   There I go again. I cannot help being a bit gloomy these days. Oh only in writing of course. I am quite happy in the real world. Well, perhaps not. I hate the thought of leaving home. Only 3 days left.

   And then farewell for a little while.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Friend...


   Dear Friend(s),


   I wish...

   I wish that bad things do not have to happen between friends.
   But they do.

   I wish we could have stayed as we were.
   Good friends.
   Comrades.
   Helping each other when in need.
   Laughing at each other's jokes.
   Talking.
   But those things have come to pass.

   I wish I could have been a better friend.
   One who does not blunder so easily.
   One who knows better when to speak.
   One who is better at taking matters into hand.
   But I was not.

   I wish you could have said, "What's passed is in the past"
   Because that is what I feel
   I wish we could put everything behind
   Keep the good memories, and strive to make new ones
   Remember the bad ones, but only as lessons for learning
   Never to be repeated.
   But perhaps only I wish so, and you don't. 
   I do not know.

   I wish I know what's in your heart
   Because I know what is in mine
   I have sincerely asked for your forgiveness
   For any faults that I might have made
   But perhaps it was not enough
   Why wasn't it?

   I wish to be good friends again
   To relive the good old days
   I've forgiven you for any mistakes that you've made
   And I wish I knew if you have forgiven mine
   But I do not know.

   I wish we could be good friends again.
   But for that to happen we must both wish for it.
   
   I wish for so many things
   I know now that Allah knows best
   I have much to thank Him for
   For the blessed years that I was given
   To experience a friendship with you
   I thank you for all the good memories
   And also for the bad ones
   For while good things give us happiness and warmth
   Bad things also help to teach us certain values that the good cannot

   This message may never reach you
   And I do not know if you would like it if it ever did
   So I am writing it anyway
   Allah knows best
   And perhaps one day you will find forgiveness in your heart
   I hope you do
   You were a good friend
   And I hope I was too.

   I am sorry.
   Thank you.
   
I hope we will part on good terms next year...

   The best friendships, in fact the best relationships between human beings are those that were built in the name of Allah. Perhaps we have ceased to remember this. If you have experienced hurtful relationships, think that perhaps you have forgotten to strengthen your relationship with Allah. 

   Wallahu'alam. May the blessings of Allah be upon all who venture across this piece of writing.

   [Having written this, it feels rather cheesy but oh well.]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Writing Words Worth Reading...

   There are usually two sides to everything. To a piece of paper. To an empty plate. To a person.

   Sometimes there are more than just two.

   You may choose to look at only one side. You may choose to look at all. Or you may choose to simply walk away. If you stay, I thank you.

_______________________________________________   


   [Warning: This entry, once again, contains a lot of words. Even more than the last. Only read if you like reading. And you may comment if you find that my words were worth your effort in reading and my effort in writing them. Use as many words as you like. I do not mind. Thank you.]

   KakNgah here.

   It's been a few days since I last posted anything. Hmmm... am I getting tired of it? Definitely not. I'm probably just too busy dreaming or doing other things to actually sit down and write something worth writing.

   That's it. Writing something worth to be written. My dilemma these few days. Perhaps I should explain.

   I've spent quite a lot of time visiting blogs here and there. Some of the ones I found were such gems- entries written so beautifully that you can feel how earnest the writer was when she/he wrote it. Some were very beneficial- perhaps a little stiff but full of information nevertheless. Some were full of humour, both good and bad. I found myself tickled silly at the clever little ways that some people have in writing. I could probably not do that very well. Some blogs were full of life. Hardships, problems and dilemmas- not to forget rejoicing, happiness and warmth.

   Those were the good ones. The ones I could learn from. The ones who made me feel that it's worthwhile going blogwalking just to come across such delicious pieces of writing.

   I've had my share of coming across the bad ones. People who are good writers, but who forget that words (as I have once written somewhere), are powerful, non-living beings that affect anyone who encounters them in the most surprising ways. We forget, that these black, lifeless things on white backgrounds (you may think of other colours, for I am speaking quite generally) can come to life and either touch the hearts of the people they meet, or twiSt them. It is quite true, for this is what I have experienced.

   It saddens me to see how some people can be so shallow-minded when they write. I am no judge, perhaps, but I do read a lot, and one can differentiate quite easily between people who write because it means a lot to them, and those who only seek to poison other people's minds. Oh, I am not talking about those who rage and run amok in their little online worlds, spouting fire and vengeance- ranting at the world in general. I understand. I get angry too. And for some, writing helps throw off the steam. I get it. Though I do advice a little caution. Be angry, but know your limits.

   What I am referring to is actually those who look at life as if it is a mere playground. A place to have fun and forget all their troubles in the world. Forget those aims and goals. What is the purpose of life anyway? Everyone will surely die in the end, and who knows what will come after? Oh, if only these words (or the essence of it) came from non-believers, I would perhaps not feel as bitter!

   Yet these are people who claim to be believers. They claim to be Muslims, to be more precise. Yet they exhibit words and not to forget pictures, that leave people who read their entries wondering, are these people really who they claim to be? "I am a Muslim woman , they say." "Oh people who say bad things about Islam anger me!" "How can others NOT believe that Islam is the true din?"

   Look at yourselves, ladies. Look at yourselves gentlemen. Do you carry yourselves as Muslims should? Do your photos portray how Muslims are like? You claim to wear the tudung, but you wear them with your nighties. Is it a wonder that other people look at Muslims the way they do nowadays?

   I am not perfect either. How can anyone possible be?

   I have made a lot of mistakes myself. Been drowned in a dream world, knowing that nothing there is real but letting myself drown anyway. I know. I know what it feels like to be carried away by worldly temptations. And I still face these challenges. It has been an uphill battle.

   Look at me. I started off meaning to write about something else, but here I am, ranting on and on nothing in general. Nothing? Oh I do not know, perhaps those who read this can judge.

   What I meant to say from the very beginning is, I want to write words worth reading. I want to write words that can capture and captivate people's hearts. I want to write words that can move people to want to be good and do good things. I want to write words that can help people remember Islam. I want a lot, don't I? Perhaps too much, even.

   Perhaps that is why I have been holding off posting new entries. There are so many things on my mind, so many things that I want to write about that it makes me feel dizzy. Yet, at the same time, it makes me afraid. I do not want to merely write, just for the sake of posting something. But I am afraid that if I stop writing, I may never take up the pen again (or in this context, touch the keyboards again).

   I know that I should not let fear take hold of me.

   Oh, what is the matter with me? Perhaps the thought of having to leave home is making me frantic and stopping me from writing sensibly. It is only six days more that I have until I leave. It is only a few weeks more until I enter that new 'adult' world. Being looked up to be children, if they look up to me at all. Being the centre of attention in front of a large group (though perhaps not so large in my case). Being assessed and tested. Being with other people again...

   ...

   .............

   .......................
 
   .......................................

   ...........................................................................

_______________________________________________

   There are usually two sides to everything. To a person.

   Sometimes even more.

   This is the bright and cheerful side. I guess.

   Hallo. Did you just come from that gloomy world up there? Oh well. Just your luck, I guess. Really do not know what's the matter with her. Let her be.

   Let's read about me, shall we? I've actually a few entries which are patiently bidding their time to be released into the online world. However, I have not quite finished writing in each one, so perhaps these few pictures can  you occupied for now:

You're laughing as you look at these. Stop.

You're laughing again. Please don't.

Ah, that's more like it.

My crowning glory!

   As you can see, they're all about my baking adventure, which is probably why that gloomy girl up there has been doubtful about posting. She wishes this blog to be well-balanced between Islamic materials, baking adventures and life experiences. Perhaps she's right. Personally, I think she just thinks too much... uses up her time thinking rather than writing. Well, she'll come around and hopefully these pending entries (and other ones) will make their appearance.

_______________________________________________

   Just though I'd clear up some things. Of course, it's rather doubtful that anyone even came down this far to read this, but I'm writing anyway.

   I know that The World We Live In does not have that many readers. It's quite doubtful that we have any silent readers even (and I am not quite to dream about that. Too much dreaming can be quite harmful). And as you can see, it has only been KakNgah during these last few weeks (a statement which I have been repeating over and over again). I wish KakYong and KakCik were here. It gets pretty lonely. 

   However, no need to brood over that. I'm sure they'll come soon.

  What I wanted to say was that although we do not have many followers, we (as of now, 'we' probably refers to KakNgah), we appreciate every single one who are. In fact, KakNgah has come to regard them as friends. I do not know how often they visit here, but I certainly visit their little worlds often. 

   Sometimes I leave comments. In fact, I'd like to comment on every entry they put up, because I love it when people comment on my entries, but perhaps that feeling does not reply to everyone. So I try to restrain myself from making too much comments. Just read, KakNgah. Just read. Only comment when you have anything worthy of writing.

   Apart from following our followers, I also follow other blogs. Quite a number, in fact. Two or three I follow because they belong to people I know, but others I do because I like them. I mostly do so silently. It does not matter that these people do not know that I exist. I read their entries because I like them. I leave comments because I feel their entries worth commenting, not because I want them to click on my name and see who I am. No. That is the truth. If anyone does come and visit this little world of ours, then alhamdulillah. Thank you. If you take the liberty of following our stories, whether officially or silently, I thank you. Thank you.

   I refrain rather, from following blogs belonging to male bloggers. Perhaps there are one or two, but that's about it. Call it ego, I do not know. There are some very good male bloggers out there, but I only visit silently. Sorry guys. You've already got hundred of followers anyway, so what difference would our following you make? Perhaps this will change later. Who knows?

   I have also not listed any favourite blogs. As I have said in that little note at the top of the page, I don't own the right to do so. I'm sorry if this is wrong in the blogging world. I truly do not know. But perhaps I can make a list titled 'Blogs KakNgah likes.' Maybe!

   Thank you, by the way, to http://reminderformenyou.blogspot.com for listing our blog under your 'teman's or friends. Perhaps you do it for everyone, but this little gesture means a lot to me! Thank you!

   Thank you. Alhamdulillah. That is all I can offer.
_______________________________________________

   I wonder. Should I turn this into three entries rather than just one? It is dreadfully long.

   Oh well.

   Allah knows best. Wallahua'lam.

Kak Yong writes: A Saturday at home

This post is for Kak Ngah who is probably planning to go on strike due to lack of commitment from the rest of blog members, namely me =p. Yes, though it was my idea, as with most of things that I decided to do, I always got bored easily. Not a good habit, I know.
Anyway, it is Saturday and I am at home. I was waiting for Kak Salina a while ago, we have a presentation coming up this Monday, but she just messaged me that she'll come later, so for now I am free. Hopefully we'll be able to settle everything. The presentation stuff I mean. It is for the project I'm working on as a research assistant. It's Madrasah-Madrasah Sebelum Merdeka di Selangor: Sejarah dan Sumbangan (Madrasahs Prior Independence in Selangor: History and Contributions). Supposedly the lecturers are ones presenting, but both Dr. Ali and Dr. Roslan are unavailable next week, so I have to do it.Since I was kinda worried because I haven't done this before, Kak Salina agreed to help (she was the previous r.a). I guess I should have grabbed this chance, it is after all the world of academics that I'll be immersed in for at least the next two years, but since the scaredy me is not yet prepared to stand in front of a whole room of lecturers and experts, I'll leave it until next time, alright? Will report on the the event soon. Till next time!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The World We Live In


   (Warning: This entry has absolutely no  pictures. Just words. Words, words and more words. And questions. Lots of 'em.)

   KakNgah thinks.

   And KakNgah writes.

   And writes.

   What about? Oh.

   About this world.

   This world that we live in.

   Have you ever wondered or thought a lot about it?

   Have you spent a lot of time, staring into space, wondering about this world?

   About the people who live in it.

   About the trees.

   The flowers.

   The beautiful, blue sea.

   The animals.

   Cats.

   Tigers.

   Elephants.

   Dolphins.

   Animals that live on land.

   Those that live in the sea.

   Human beings.

   People.

   Life, in general.

   Life. What is life really about?

   How did people live in the old days? How do people live now? How will they live in the future?

   Has things remained the same since Adam first came to Earth? No. It has not.

   Will things remain the same long, long after we leave our life in this world and enter the next? No, they won't.

   Death. What is death? How will we face it? Are we ready for it? What have we done in this life, anyway?

   Life. Death. Life and death.

   Choices. Decisions. What sort of choices and decisions have we made in this life that we live? How will they affect us when and after we die?

   Life and death. All is in God's Hands. God's power.

   Who is God?

   God. Allah. The Almighty. The One True God. The Creator. The Lord of the Universe.

   The Creator. Yes, the Almighty Being who created us. Us. Us and all other things that ever existed anywhere there is existence.

   He gave us life. He gave us eyes for seeing and looking. Ears for hearing and listening. Mouths for speaking. Hands for touching, picking up things, shaping. Feet and legs for moving.

   He gave us this world. This world that we live in. This beautiful world where we are not alone. We have friends. Family. We have food. Shelter.

   What have we done before we ever existed to receive all this?

   Nothing.

   Yet He gave them to us. Freely.

   What have we done to feel that we deserve all this?

   What have we done to show that we appreciate living in this world?

   What HAVE we done?

   Questions. Questions come and come and never leave.

   They're not enough. We need answers. Answers.

   Where do they lie? Where do these answers lie?

   Where?

   Everywhere. They lie everywhere, in wait for us. Waiting for us to look for them. They lie in the trees. They lie in the seas. They lie in the people we meet and see everyday.

   They are all signs. Signs of what, you ask? Who made that chair you're sitting on? Someone did. A carpenter, probably. Who made that pen you're using? Someone. A machine you say. Well, there were brains behind those machinery.

   Who made the brains behind the machine then? Who made everything else that human beings did not make?

   Are you thinking now?

   Islam is a religion for thinkers.

   So think.

   Think.

   I'm thinking.

   Thinking.

   About what?

   I'm thinking about this world that we live in.

   (Just wondering what's it's like to write in short sentences like saya here does. It's kind of nice, actually. Easier on the eyes too. Definitely a lot easier.)

Blogging Blues 2

   KakNgah here.

 

   In fact, it's only been KakNgah this month.

   .........................

   That will change, Insya-Allah. Don't worry. I'll get so fed up of only seeing myself here that I'll probably stop writing soon. That'll give way for KakYong & KakCik to write.

   I never thought that I'd find blogging to be quite as interesting and as fun as this. It's funny. Once, when people asked, "Do you have a blog?", the answer that would come out would be, "What?!! Are you kidding? Na'ah. I don't have a blog, and never will. Never!"

   Well, of course I didn't say those exact words, but you get the idea. The idea of having a blog itself repelled me then. Really!

   But people change, and I guess I did. Now I find that blogs (and websites) are actually a good way of spreading da'wah. In fact, it's a great way of gaining 'ilm. It's been really interesting, especially when I go 'blogwalking'. Funny. A few weeks ago I'd never even heard of the word. Now, I actually use it. Wow.

   Even with all the goodness and benefits, there are also bad elements that I feel I should avoid in the blogging world. My- in fact our main intention in blogging is actually to keep in touch with each other and be updated with the events in each other's lives- KakYong, KakCik and I. KakYong also said that we should use our blog as a means of doing da'wah.

   Anyway (I noticed I use a LOT of 'anyway's), I thought I'd talk a bit about my blogwalking experiences.

   When I decided to move our blog from the old to this one, I decided to also update the other blog that I write in. So I did. I changed the look, with a bit of help from this blog, and voila! A new look. A rather childish one, but a new look all the same.

   Then I started work on this one. I posted a few entries, changed the template, blablabla. Then I decided to go take a look at my other blog.

   And surprise, surprise. I had a comment! Haha. Yes, it probably doesn't mean anything to any old time bloggers. What? KakNgah got a shock because she got a comment? Well, yes I did. I did! I did because I never ever thought in my life that anyone would ever stumble across my blog, let alone read it. But someone did...

   And it turned out to be no other than my friend Ina. Believe me, it was a small gesture but it changed my outlook on the blogging world. I visited her profile, found that she too had a blog, and made a flying visit. Reading her blog, I discovered a new side of her that I never knew. The side where she actually writes, and is pretty good at too.

   Through her I discovered a lot of things about blogging. I mean, I'd visited the blogs that my TESL friends had, but usually only when I was really bored. I'd leavev a few comments now and then, but that was it.

   Then, somehow or other I stumbled upon this blog. The owner chose a very funny name, and I couldn't help but grin when I read it. The Pot Pet King? 'Pot pet' is honestly like the trademark of women, and this blogger is obviously not one. I guess even men like to nag sometimes. An oxymoron, I guess.

   What interested me was not the blogger, but the latest entry that he had. A 'Cover Your Aurat' campaign. I was instantly hooked. I read through, and signed up (which anyone can do by visiting his site and following the instructions. Oh, you can also click on the picture below to do it).

This is the second time I'm posting this pic and link! hehe


   It was interesting. At first the only sort of campaigns and contests and the like in blogs were ones that didn't really fancy me (like the ones where you have to tag your friends, answer questions and whatnot). Oh, don't get me wrong, I suppose as long as they don;t bring any harm, then they're okay. I just happen NOT to fancy them, that's all. Why? Well, I don't really see the point. If you do, then it's your call and I have no say in it.

   But an aurat campaign is definitely different. It's for a good purpose, and it's definitely a good means of doing so, Insya-Allah, so I signed up. Our blog was the 24th person to join, if I may say so, and now there are nearly a hundred supporters. I hope they get more.

   This campaign was truly the thing that started me blogwalking. I think I must have visited most, if not all, the blogs that supported it because I wanted to see what people had to say. Some didn't know what to say, but it's okay since they support the thing anyway. What I really loved were some of the very good comments and entries that some bloggers had. They were really good. I discovered that a lot of people know what is right and what is wrong, and some are quite blatant about it. It's just a matter of acting out what you believe.

   (You can click here to read KakNgah's entry. I hope when KakYong and KakCik have time to write, they'll write something too.)

    Through my visits, I gained a lot of things. One: Knowledge. Two: New acquaintances and hopefully and possibly, new friends. Putting the campaign matter aside, I discovered that blogging and blogwalking is a serious matter to bloggers. Yes KakYong and KakCik! Know that!

   It's important to them to have followers, because it means that people read your entries. It means that people try to keep up with your life story. I suppose that's good... I don't really know. There are different ways of looking at it, I guess.

   Take Facebook, for example.

Yup. This one. You don't have one? Unbelievable. Not.

   I only accept people I know, and as far as possible, girls. My intention of having Facebook is really to keep in touch my my friends, people I know. But if people (well, girls and women) want to get to know me, okay, bring it on. And that's more or less the way I look at blogging too.

   So if anyone reads my entries, either here or here, then alhamdulillah. If you follow me, I thank you-we thank you very very much and I hope we can be friends.

Salam ukhuwwah KakNgah bids to everyone she's had the pleasure of interacting with these few day...
   But if nobody follows me, or people read my entries but do not follow me, or leave comments... whatever you do, I think I'll keep writing as long as I can. I mean who wants to read my entries anyway? They're awfully long, and I babble on and on. But it helps. Writing helps. I can't help writing very long entries because I just love writing. I do. And I love reading other entries, no matter how long they are, as long as they're good. Honestly. It's good that we're sharing knowledge.

Sharing ilm is something Islam greatly encourages.

   So there you are. Followers or no followers, I'll write. Readers or no readers, I'll write. Maybe I'll touch a heart or two, who knows? Prophet Nuh a.s. lived for around 900 years, and he made da'waah his whole life. Yet he was only able to change less than one hundred people (correct me if I'm wrong, please). So who am I to grumble or complaint if no-one is touched by my poor means of da'waah? I must still do it, for it is a responsibility given upon all mankind.

   As always, Allah knows best. May He reward those who work for Him.

   Wallah'alam.

   P/s: KakCik promised to write soon. Pray for it. I am.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Double Chocolate Brownies

   Salam.


   Hello! Notice the new look? It took me a whole day to do this, and a lot of it spent on surfing on the internet looking for templates, how-to-dos and whatnot. Pheww!! Anyway, I don't suppose it looks as great as other people's blogs, but I guess it's ok. Besides, I stumbled on a blog that had EXACTLY the same template as ours here, so that had to go! Well, of course it's not wrong to look the same, but if you can afford to look different, why not?


   I definitely like this look better than the last one.


   Well, I was supposed to post an entry on Baking Blues a few days ago, but I forgot, so here it is. I actually made two attempts at baking something after the blondies (which I absolutely love and am definitely going to make again when I have the chance), but I'll write only about one now.


   I made a sister to blondies- brownies!


   How many kinds of brownies do you know?


   I know three. YEs, the italics were necessary.


   First, I know of the edible brownies. I'll talk about that first since that's my original intent. I used another from Martha Stewart Cookies recipe book, and it was really good. Well, I did overbake again (the oven gets really hot so easily!), but they turned out well nevertheless. If you really like chocolate, then try making this. I suppose the name is 'Double' Chocolate Brownies.


   Here's what Martha's look like:


Lovely! (Source)
   And here's, ahem, how mine look like. Excuse the picture quality- the lighting was rather bad... so you probably can't see how good they look all that well. haha....


Lovely too! Haha


   Well, they DO taste nice. Especially if you really, really like chocolaty stuff. They cooked a little too quickly, and the edges got cooked too quickly too, which was why I had the burnt edges, I guess. But I cut them off... honestly you could would have broken your teeth off if you did. What? No, I did not take any picture.


   If you notice, they have a sort of shiny coating at the top, which I had not expected to see at first, but I think they're supposed to have them. Anyway, this got good reviews from my family, haha. Alhamdulillah, I should say. The brownies are really chewy. And chocolaty. Did I mention that already?


   Anyway, you can get the recipe by clicking on 'Source' under the picture of Martha's brownies (not under mine. Joke.). Or you might just as well click here. However, there's a slight variation between the online recipe and the one in the book, so I've put the book one here:


____________________________________________________________

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients:

6 tbsp unsalted butter + some more for pan
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350F (which is 176.67 Celcius according to Google). Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining except overhang.

 2. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate have melted. Let cool slightly.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 
Put sugar, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale (about 4 minutes). 
Add chocolate mixture; mix until combined.
Reduce to low speed and add in flour; scrapping sides of bowl until well combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid centre and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet (about 35 minutes.
Lift out; let cool slightly on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Storage:
Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.
_____________________________________________________________

   I tried as much as I could to follow the recipe to the letter, but of course I couldn't. First of all, my chocolate wasn't exactly 6 ounces- I only had a small slab of chocolate on hand, so I just the whole lot in. It was probably short of a few ounces, but it didn't really affect the taste.

   The method for mixing the ingredients for both the online and the book recipe is more or less the same, but the amount of ingredients differ a bit. I've listed them below; the ones in blue are the online amounts, while the ones in pink are the book amounts:

1 cup (8 tbsp) = BUTTER = 6 tbsp 
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp = ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR = 3/4 cup
none =  BAKING POWDER = 1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp = SALT = 1/4 tsp
3 = EGGS = 2
none = VANILLA EXTRACT = 2 tsp

   I don't know how the results would be different, but I guess I'll try the online recipe next time to see. But the book recipe is quite good; just be sure to watch over your brownies as they bake, or at least take a peep now and then to make sure they don't burn. You may want to reduce the baking time and temperature, depending on your oven.
____________________________________________________________

COCOA POWDER

I also looked up what Dutch-process cocoa powder are, and how they are different from not-Dutch processed ones. Personally I just chuck in whatever is available, and I don't know it makes a difference, but maybe it does. As far as I know, what I've been using is Dutch-processed powder. I'm too lazy to write about it here, but you can read about it here. You can also Google it on the internet, it's quite interesting.
____________________________________________________________

   Well, this is a pretty long entry. I still have to tell you about the three different brownies. Here we go.

BROWNIES 1 :
(edible ones, yum2)
Brownies (Food)
"A chocolate brownie is a flat, baked square or bar introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the twentieth century." (Read more about them here.)




BROWNIES 2 :
(human. and nope, not edible. No way.)
Brownies (Girl Scouts)
"A Brownie is a member of a section of some Guiding organisations for girls from their seventh birthday to their tenth birthday. Exact age limits are slightly different in each organisation. It is the female-centred equivalent of the Cub Scouts. (Read more about them here.)"




BROWNIES 3:
(not human, and certainly not edible since they don;t even exist...?)
Brownies (folklore)

"A brownie/brounie or urisk (Lowland Scots) or brùnaidh, ùruisg, or gruagach (Scottish Gaelic) is a legendary creature popular in folklorearound Scotland and England (especially the north, though more commonly hobs have this role). It is the Scottish and Northern English counterpart of the Scandinavian tomte, the Slavic domovoi and the German Heinzelmännchen." (Read more about them here.)
____________________________________________________________
   I hope this was a good post, albeit a very, very long one and certainly quite tiring to make! I plan to make something tomorrow... so pray for another entry on Baking Blues!


    Wallah'alam.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sami Yusuf: Healing

Source
   Dad's latest favourite album in the car: Sami Yusuf's "Wherever You Are".
   At first I listened without really listening. 
   But the tunes kept playing, and some of them got stuck in my head.
   And as songs go, they keep replaying themselves, over and over again, in my head.
   This in one of the songs that I particularly like. The words are beautiful, as is the melody. I love reading verses in which the words are beautifully chosen and thoughtfully placed, be it in English or in Bahasa Melayu or any other language for that matter. I hope I'll be able to do the same one day.

HEALING
Sami Yusuf

VERSE 1:
It’s so hard to explain
قد يصعب عليّ أن أعبر
What I’m feeling
عمّا يختلج في قلبي
But I guess it’s ok
لكن اعتقادي
Cause I’ll keep believing
ينبع من إيماني
There’s something deep inside
هناك شيء في الأعماق
Something that’s calling
ينادي
It’s calling you and I
يناديني ويناديك
It’s taking us up high
يرتقي بنا إلى الأعلى

CHORUS:
Healing, a simple act of kindness brings such meaning
الشفاء … قد يتجسّد في عمل بسيط لطيف
A smile can change a life let’s start believing
بسمة قد تغير حياة الإنسان
And feeling, let’s start healing
فلنبدأ بعمل يكون فيه شفاء

VERSE 2:
Heal and you will be healed
شفاء بشفاء .. ومع كل شفاء شفاء
Break every border
اكسر القيود والحدود
Give and you will receive
اعط تُعطى .. فالعطاء يوجب عطاء
It’s Nature’s order
نظام كوني رباني
There is a hidden force
هناك قوى خفية
Pulling us closer
تجذب بعضنا لبعض
It’s pulling you and I
تجذبني أنا وأنت
It’s pulling us up high
تجذبنا للأعلى

CHORUS:
Healing, a simple act of kindness brings such meaning
الشفاء … قد يتجسّد في عمل بسيط لطيف
A Smile can change a life let’s start believing
بسمة قد تغير حياة الإنسان
And feeling, let’s start healing
فلنبدأ بعمل يكون فيه شفاء

MIDDLE 8:
Hearts in the hand of another heart and in God’s hand are all hearts
قلب بين يدي قلب و بيد الله كل قلب
An eye takes care of another eye and from God’s eye nothing hides
عين ترعى عينا .. وعين الله ترعى، و لا شيء عنه يخفى
Seek only to give and you’ll receive
إسع نحوالعطاء… و ستلقى و تعطى
So, heal and you will be healed
إشف.. و سوف تشفى

OUTRO (x2):
قلب بين يدي قلب و بيد الله كل قلب
عين ترعى عينا، وعين الله ترعى
كلمة طيبة صدقة
تبسمك لأخيك صدقه
كل معروف صدقة
اللهم اشف شفاءً لا يغادر سقماً

Song Name: “Healing”
Written and Produced: Sami Yusuf
Lyrics co-written: Dr. Walid Fataihi
Mixed and Mastered at Andante Studios

   Click here to watch the music video.
   Click here to go to Sami Yusuf's official website and read how this song came to be written.

   Come. Heal and be healed. 

   A smile can change a life! (Source)

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