Monday, April 10, 2017

Bucket List - New Zealand

I have been saving for the past two years for this one. This bucket list is an expensive one hence a proper financial plan is vital. It has been a tradition that I will always travel with the whole bunch of my family members for overseas vacation. We would normally select the best date that can accommodate all of us at least 6 to 12 months earlier. My 17 year-old sat for his SPM exam hence we decided to travel after the exam i.e early Dec with hopes and prayers that no unexpected event happened, things like leaked questions or natural disaster that might affected the exam and they have to resit some papers during the dates that we have blocked for the holidays. Alhamdulillah, the exam was smooth sailing albeit a few rumours that there would be a resit for History papers.

After a year of saving and hundred hours of Googling, we took the first step by purchasing the flight tickets in March 2016, 9 months before travelling date through Emirates after quite an extensive research on the best route and preferred airline. Juggling between making sure my kids especially the 17 year old coping with his studies, visiting those in boarding schools, arranging extra classes during school holidays and doing loads and loads of researching of the itinerary, budget and at the same time still being productive in the office, it was a vacation that everyone looking forward to.

We decided to do North and South Island trips in 2 weeks. North by renting an MPV and South by renting a motorhome(caravan). Motorhome vacation is quite 'alien' to us in our home country and knowing that the New Zealand roads are very different from others (from our blog surfing), we decided to get a ground arrangement for the motorhome South Island's trip.

Auckland International Airport 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bucket List - Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia

One of my many bucket list is going to the Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia. When my boss decided to send me to Sydney for a couple of meetings, I've already decided to apply for a day leave after that to fulfil this bucket list of mine. Blue Mountains National Park is located in Katoomba, which is a 2-hour train ride from Sydney city. It is a massive rainforest with abundant species of eucalypts which some of them can only be found here in the Blue Mountains, these eucalypts trees release tiny oil droplets into the air and  produce a blue-like mist when they came into contact with the sun which explains the origin of its name. It is also gazetted as UNESCO World Heritage due to this reason.
However, my trip was at the end of winter month (August) hence not much sun can be expected. Albeit I couldn't get to view its 'blueness' with the absence of the sun but the trip was life changing. Subhanallah and Masyaa Allah were the words that can describe it.

Blue Mountains - CHECKED!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Salmon & Mushroom Quiche

Pie Dough

130g all purpose flour (can also use pastry or cookie flour)
20g shortening
70g cold butter - diced
Cold water as needed
A pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add salt. Rub the fats into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of water to the mixture and gently knead until a soft dough ball forms. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle with a diameter of 10 inches. Line an 8 inch tart pan with the pastry. Press down into corners and sides. Trim the edges and prick the pastry base using a fork.
  4. Blind bake for about 10 minutes.

Salmon Filling

1 yellow onion - finely sliced
1 tbsp butter
2 eggs
150ml cream
1/2 cup grated cheese - more if you like
About 50g salmon fillet - thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Melt butter on a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until caramelized (translucent and a bit brown) while constantly stirring.  Remove from the heat, transfer the onion into a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. Using the same frying pan over medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook until the moisture slightly dried out. Set aside.
  4. Whisk eggs and cream in a medium bowl. Lightly season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Spread the onion and mushroom onto the cooled pastry case. Scatter the salmon slices on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Gently pour the cream over the filling.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and the filling set.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fruit Tartlets

Sugar Pastry

100gm icing sugar
100gm butter, at room temperature
 1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
250gm all purpose flour

  • In a bowl of a  stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Take the dough out and form a ball. Wrap the dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a medium round cutter, cut the pastry and press them into tart shells.
  • Bake at 190C until golden brown.
  • Let them cool completely before piping the vanilla cream.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

350 ml milk
70gm white sugar
4 yolks
40gm cornstarch
35gm butter
1 tsp vanilla

  • Combine 300gm milk and sugar in a pan and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining milk, yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Temper the egg mixture by slowly beating about quarter of the hot milk in a thin stream. 
  • Pour the egg mixture into the hot milk and return them over the heat and bring them to a boil, constantly whisking.
  • When it starts to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter until completely blended in.
  • Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap to avoid the cream from forming a crust.
  • Cool in refrigerator.
Pipe the cream into the shells and arrange the fruit of your choice such as strawberries, peaches, kiwis, cherries or grapes.