Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vanilla Cupcake + Green Tea Icing [makes ~24 cupcakes]

You sure you really want to make this thing?

Okay... here it goes.

I've always been a diagram sort of person. I love looking at pictures over reading words. So I always turn recipes into a giant flowchart. To some people, it probably looks like its overcomplicating it. But to me, it makes it easier. I've been making an entire notebook on it. And I guess that's something to hand over to my grandkids ahahha. Even though the recipes weren't originally mine.

I find my recipes online.. and mix them together to make my own I guess.

Basic Cupcake + Frosting Flow Chart Recipe

And to have green tea, add in the matcha powder with the icing sugar whilst making the frosting/icing :)


いただきます!! ケーキはおいしかった!

A much needed change. Change is good. Starting with My Bedroom.

So this holiday, I decided to be productive. I vacuumed my room and the carpet looks absolutely spotless! By spotless, I mean, no strands of hair (which is really gross).
I'm losing my hair :( and it's a visible problem. No one really goes into my room, so all that hair on the floor must've been mine!

But yeah. Needa sort out this problem hmmm.

And I got a new table! And it has made such a BIG difference to my room. And hopefully to my study life? I'm typing on my new table right now and it feels so spacious up top. But unfortunately, not so much leg room.

In a way, I'm happy. But that leg room! I have giant legs and it hurts whenever my legs hit against that bar at the bottom :( But I know that that bar is necessary to keep the table upright.

It is also interesting to note that my table was once the family's old dinner table. Wow. It was so huge in my memory but now that I look at it, how did all 5 of us fit and eat on this thing?
Nahh I've got to be grateful. And anyway, due to Honours, I'm mostly at uni anyway and wouldn't be at this table.. much.

And I also got a new bedside alarm clock! :D
It's been so long since I've had a LED bedside alarm clock. My previous clock was an analog clock and its served me well the past couple of years. Except that it was such a giant pain. When you wake up in the middle of the night, you can't see what time it is. And sometimes, it is just too cold to stick your arm out of the bed covers and turn the alarm's light on.. JUST to find out what time it is. It ruins the comfiness ya know.

But one of the downsides of having a digital alarm clock is that you can't see what time it is in proportion to other times.. like, says its 8.14.. you can't automatically see how much time is left till it's 8.30..
Yeah. lazy stuff like that. But I am digging this radio function! I've never had a radio alarm clock before. Both my younger sisters have had a radio alarm clock. And I have NEVER had one.
Now I do ;)
Alhamdulillah. It's such a kawaii size and I'm a little weary since it's got a cable and all, and is next to that flower jar full of water..

btw, that's actually sandalwood. Not a flower. It's meant to be this aromatic herb that would give my bedroom a nice smell. Apparently my room stinks. According to my family that is.
Well that would keep unwanted visitors out of my room while i'm away hahaha. But I don't think the sandalwood is doing a very good job.

I found a caterpillar on the sandalwood one day, with a pile of its droppings at the base of the jar. SO GROSS! I can't imagine what could've happened if it had crawled along the bedside table, onto my bed.. and into my ear. EWWW!

I got rid of the caterpillar though. And the sandalwood yesterday was looking brown, so I got rid of that too. Whatever. There's too much stuff on my bedside table anyway. I like to keep it clear, just in case I don't knock anything over when my arm reaches out one morning to press that snooze button.

Speaking of bedroom aromas..

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to get rid of that apparent stench in my room by looking up for some green tea air fresheners online (since im a green tea fanatic) but I found this super cool technique instead. Hanging tea bags!

Tea Bags by the Window - How's the Serenity..
They haven't made much of a difference. Well, I can't exactly tell. I didn't really smell much of a green tea thing in my room. And that could be due to many reasons.
1. The tea bags were actually over 2 years old and I only decided to use them because nobody else was using them.
2. Maybe they just eliminated the odour, and not exactly emitted their own smell
3. These may just work in small enclosed spaces, like in an aeroplane's bathroom cubicle (as the article I read online mentioned)

Well, they didn't change the smell of the room, but my mother did notice it. And seeing how desperate I was, she bought me some of the real air freshener stuff. My room properly smells like lavender now.. unti the new table came along.

The new table still smells of new polish. And it's making my room reek of it. Is it safe to sleep in a room that smells of paint? I've been having my curtains and windows widely opened and I've also been sleeping with my door open these past 2 nights to let the paint smell out. I hope this smell fades out soon :( I don't like sleeping with my door open.. it makes me a little scared lol. Which is why I keep my lamp on throughout the night and that is such a waste of energy and I wake up feeling moody :/

I have also been trying to decorate my room. I'm not a very creative decorator though.. I've mostly been putting up the posters that I used to hang in my old room from my previous house.

Such a bare well next to my bed

With the Old Table
With the New Table (and poster of Central Park)

I tried to spice up my old table with a jar of roses. But roses don't last long.. and they were dead within 2 weeks. :( They were SO pretty though and I had enough pretty pink things to make a pretty pink corner. It was such a beautiful sight to wake up to.

One of the biggest eyesores in my room were these bags of books next to my shelf.
An eyesore: that pile of bags full of books to the left of my shelf
I have a lot of books. That i don't want to read. They were actually given to me by an aunt that was moving interstate and she didn't want to bring them with her. Now that I've looked through them, I can see why. The books are of various genres, but nothing really of my taste. There's some psychological, some horror, some adult. And beauty books.
Beauty and the Books

Nothing really of my taste. I'm more into the classics these days like Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, The Power of One, Huckleberry Finn..

So yeah. I really don't know what to do with them. I had thought of giving them away to some friends as birthday gifts.. but to be honest, I wouldn't dare give them such cheap gifts. I don't think these books are even that good. And I am not judging by their cover, I am judging by their blurb. I wouldn't dare give  a trashy adult novel to a friend that loves fantasy adventure stories.

I'm thinking of donating them to the library. They're still in good condition. But ARGHH I wonder when I'll even have the time to even contact the library! Their opening hours are so small! And when they're opened, I have to be in the lab! :(

insha Allah I get this stuff sorted out. Till then, I have moved them away from next to the shelf.. to next to the bin. Well, if that's not a hint of what I really want to do with them, I don't know what is.
Nahh, it'd be tragic to throw books in such perfect condition away. They just need a new home.
I'm putting them next to my bin which is next to my door. So every time I walk out of my room, I spot a glimpse of these books and remember that these books NEED A NEW HOME.

Okay.. so I think my weekend of scuffling stuff around my room has been done and dusted. Almost everything has been moved around, and it makes my room look so different. It's as if I have just moved in and I am excited to live in it! I love change! I like trying out new things because I love the fact that it gives me the feeling of having a fresh start every single time.

Baking Green Tea Icing Cupcakes and a Long Weekend of Delicious Food!

It's not only been an intense week in the Honours world.... but it's been a busy week for my body trying to process all the tasty food I've consumed!

So much Chocolate.
What a sweet surprise it was when I found these chocolate eggs on my office table one morning.

Wednesday Morniing - Creme egg and 2 malteser chocolate eggs!
Thursday morning - a hollow chocolate egg

I must admit, I have never tried a creme egg before. Nor have I ever tried a Malteser chocolate egg. When I bit into those.. it was just.. AMAZING. I wish I knew who was giving them out.

By the way, I think there were two different people involved in this chocolate egg distribution. The person on Wednesday morning, who gave the creme egg and malteser egg must've been from my lab group.  Since nobody else in the research institute got one.
While on Thursday morning, the hollow chocolate egg was put on everybody's desk.

I must admit, I loved the 'solid' or 'filled' eggs more than the hollow ones. More value for money, and hence makes the receiver (i.e. me) feel more special :D

OH! And just when I decided on Saturday morning to make a lifestyle change.. I find on the kitchen benchtop an ENTIRE jar of MnMs, Twix and Milky Way.

A jar of 'on-sale' chocolates
Way to go mum for buying it all since they were all "on sale". Aiyyyaaa. I am munching on the MnMs as I type this post. And I've really wanted to get thinner and healthier. I came across a picture of Ricki-Lee and she is SKINNY. Not bony-skinny, but fit-skinny! She used to be so curvy before! And I've read an interview of hers and it's inspired me to get healthier. If she can do it, I can do it! And I am starting by cutting down on the sweets!
And then doing exercise! Hopefully I can finally sign up for those Taekwondo classes this week now that my literature review has been submitted insha Allah.

Indonesian Night Festival
Unfortunately, I was enjoying myself far too much to take pictures. MWAHAHAH.

Just kidding. It was too dark. And I don't really have those chunky, expensive cameras. All I had was  a mobile phone camera (and for the record, its a Samsung Galaxy Note II).

I didn't stay long enough to do all those fun activities. I brought my uni friends along, but alas, we were pressed for time and they had to leave so soon. And then I had to leave so soon :(

My mum and little sister came though :)

And the happiest thing, was when I was reunited with my beloved sate padang and teh botol. I am crying. I am happy. :)

And what better way to end that night market, but with an epic moon above my university's campus. So beautiful, SubhanAllah~

High Tea Farewell Party
The lab group's admin assistant was leaving and we threw a small farewell party for her. She's such a sweet old lady and I am going to miss her. I didn't know her too well.. but we had our moments. We even hugged when I had to leave the party for my dark room induction training.

The food was.. really yummy. Of course, I didn't touch the wine or the meat foods. But I did taste some of the cupcakes and chocolate peanut cake. SO YUMMY. Every was fancy dandy. I didn't get to eat everything as they were on the other side of where I was sitting.. but I did manage to take pictures.

I didn't take any pictures of the scones.. which is a real shame because that was the tastiest thing I could get my hands on that day! I don't think I've ever had scones before.. let alone, have ever been to a high tea party. But they were scrumptious and I think that might be an interesting thing to make more the cooking section of this blog ;)
Scones are quite plain.. but I think it's got something to do with the cream and strawberry jam that makes it taste so magical and posh. :D
Yes.. definitely something to consider baking.

And I absolutely loved the tea set.
 How cute are those polka dot cups? And the tea pot?? WANT.
I made sure to stay clear from the wine though ahhahaha. Totes haram man.

Dinner at Flame's Steakhouse, Bankstown
So apparently, this long weekend, Flame's was having a $35 (per person) all you can eat. I can tell you, I did not go for that $35 buffet ahahha. I went on Thursday night with some old uni friends. And even though I could've gotten that $35, I don't think I'd be able to eat all that food!

So I ordered beef ribs..

Beef ribs cost about $35.. BUT I shared it with two other friends. There were 9 bones so we were able to evenly divide it between the three of us. And they were sooo goood. The ribs came with the salad and mash. The mash wasn't all that good.. it was alright for me but not for my other two friends unfortunately. It tasted like instant mash from ALDI. ahahahha.

And we ordered other things like chips and pizza. We ordered meat lovers pizza and a chicken pizza. I didn't like the meat lovers pizza that much. They used salami! And didn't use the proper 'sujuk' (?) for pepperoni.. if you know what I'm saying. To be honest, it was quite plain.. and I was disappointed. My ma could make better-tasting pizza than that!

But all in all, Flame's steakhouse wasn't too bad. I can't complain much.. it's halal after all. And the atmoshpere was good. A lot of Muslims lol. i guess that comes with it being halal and all..

And we even got a 20% discount because we checked in on FB. But that night, they didn't accept EFTPOS which was a giant disaster for those of us that didn't have cash on us. We had to go to the ANZ ATM next door. I couldn't help feeling that it might've all been a partnered scam with ANZ. I did see a little ANZ globe on their check out counter :/

Astaghfirullah. Gotta give them the benefit of the doubt. But how silly of them to post signs up that no one can even spot! It was literally a sign written in a blue ball-point pen on paper. No matter how many signs you put up buddy, no one's going to see it if you don't type it out and print it on paper!

More Dinner Parties
It's Friday and my distant cousin (who's an international student here in Sydney) comes over this public holiday with his two young lady friends. They're such a loud bunch and they formed quite a group with my mum and they were talking in real fast Indo that I couldn't really take part in any of their convos. And I'm really not that confident in speaking Indonesian. Which is absolutely TRAGIC.

Anyway, they ate my vanilla cupcakes with green tea icing. But it was in the fridge for a while, so the sugar crystallised and you could actually crunch on the sugar. BWAHAHAH.
I don't mind them eating it, but it's just that the cupcakes kinda looked like vomit and I am too embarassed for anyone outside my immediate family to eat them. But my ma went ahead and offered it to them anyway for dessert. There was an insane amount of sugar in them, and the two girls took their time eating them. While my cousin (who isn't that fond of sugar) said it was really yummy and wanted another. Well that's nice to hear :-)

I shall post a recipe soon.

One of the girls actually recommended to me a green tea cafe in the Sydney CBD. It's called 'Chanoma Cafe'. Considering that last post about my Green Tea cravings.. I am DEFINITELY GOING ONE DAY insha Allah. I need to satisify my cravings. Oh.. and here's a link to their Facebook page: Chanoma Cafe. And plus, they're Japanese and they apparently have (and I quote) "a very cute chef".

Just LOOK at this Green Tea Menu!

The rest of the night went okay. Watched the Bulldogs vs Rabbitohs game. Which was epic because the Bulldogs once again won by a point! And we had a BBQ which I really wasn't in the mood for. I ate a couple of lamb sausages and some salad. I guess I was just really sick of BBQ-ed food, considering I was eating out for the past 2 nights in a row. I felt really bad because that night I was like really unenthusisastic sounding, and may have come across as a complete *****. I feel bad. And I know I was rude. No matter how tired I was, I should never have treated my guests that way. Especially since one of the girls had never been to my place before..


Still.. I hoped they liked the indo food and my cupcakes.


So I hope you liked my food post.. do people enjoy reading food posts?
It was quite fun to write this, but I don't really eat out much. Nor do I ever come across some extravagantly tasty food like the ones I've had this week. Oh.. the Honours life. Makes you question what's happening on the other side of all this hahha...

and until next time!



Honours Update

So this past week was pretty intense. Submitted my literature review, had a western blot training, got a new table, had a couple of food parties.. and damn. My belly is the roundest its been!

Uni Work
I submitted my literature review! ALHAMDULILLAH!
And I even printed it out for free :D My institute has it's own COLOUR printing and comb-binding service.
Mind you, I was almost about to go and print with P3 and spend 15 bucks! But a fellow honours student in my lab group thought to email the peeps upstairs and asked. I'm seriously so glad that she's in my group. I would be lost without her. And she's quite nice!

Alhamdulillah for awesome people in my lab group! I know some people went to Officeworks or P3 and had to PAY.

but yeah. I feel relieved it is out of the way and Insha Allah I get full marks! Amiin!
When I submitted to TurnItIn, it came back with a 11% similarity. My printing friend had 3%. But insha Allah everything turns out well.

Training Update
I started my Western blot training this week as well. It was super tiring. So many washings! I wonder how I'm going to get the hang of it all!
And I wonder if I still remember how to do a cytotoxicity assay that I was trained in about a month ago?

Insha Allah everything goes well!

I still have more trainings to go! I haven't been signed off for this Western blot yet. arghhh.

Other Honours Stuff Update
So my co-supervisor is back and we had a farewell party (more info in the food post) for one of our staff on Thursday. I sat across from him and it was super awkward. I was just trying to avoid eye contact with him. Which is pretty tragic. I should seriously try to have a conversation with him. He is after all my supervisor.. I just get intimidated sometimes. He's a pretty cool and laidback person. But I dunno. I've just this weird compelx with people in high positions as myself. Like, there's a barrier that I cannot cross because I'm just a measly honours student.

Ah well.

And I have a presentation this Thursday. What on earth am I going to say in this presentation? In front of my entire LAB GROUP? So I think I'm presenting my project plan, but I have almost zero idea on what it's going to be about. I need to talk with my primary supervisor more..

I'm getting a little paranoid as well about this presentation. A previous Honours student presented his project plan last time and he was GRILLED with questions. I don't want to be in that position :(
Insha Allah all goes well. Amiin! I feel like I've got something to prove you know? I've been like real bad in my training lol. I don't want to be bad in my presenting and communication skills ahahahha

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Weekend to Chill [Finally!]

Okay, the weekend isn't all that chill.. in fact, we're in the middle of Autumn now and it's time to swap those shorts and t-shirts for some cosy sweatpants and jumpers :D

i don't wear shorts in public. i was talking about around the house. hahahah.

In public, I usually wear the same style in hail, rain or sunshine. For hijabi girls, it's all about the layering. I would wear like some spencers or longer tights underneath what I would usually wear and I'm pretty much comfy in that.


Literature Review Update

ALHAMDULILLAH my literature review is complete and I am in the final stages before submitting it in. Alhamdulillah, my primary supervisor says its good (Insha Allah) and now I'm just waiting for my co-supervisor's (who is the program head) review. My co-supervisor was in a conference in san diego so I guess it might take him a while to get back to me.

I actually sent my co-supervisor my second draft on Thursday afternoon. And in my email I told him it was like 1000 words over the limit and I needed to fix the reference list. I got a reply from him the next morning and the email said something along the lines of:

 "i think you should fix it up before sending it to us. I don't see much point in reviewing it if it's going to change again"

LOL. So the first time I read it, I felt really CUT. HAHAHH but then my primary supervisor sent me an email telling me not to worry about since he might be busy in the san diego conference. It's like my primary supervisor had a feeling I might feel a little cut! OMG. it makes me teary. Maybe it's because he's asian and we asians understand each other?

okay. Well I read the email again with a different mindset and didn't take it to heart and fixed everything up. Cut down words and fixed up my reference list then sent it in. 

I still haven't gotten a reply. It Sunday now and I know I shouldn't expect a reply over the weekend, but the literature review is due on Wednesday!

Well, I am having a meeting with my co-supervisor tomorrow. But my primary supervisor is going to be away for an entire week. :( So nervous about that meeting even though my co-supervisor's a pretty laid back guy. It's just that, he's a PROFESSOR and I, a measly honours student am just so intimidated by the distance in our ranks. I hope there isn't much bad stuff to discuss about my review tomorrow, insha Allah..

And insha Allah I get full marks in this literature review. Amiin!


Weekend Update

On Saturday, I had a shari'ah exam! And I left the labs early on Friday afternoon and my primary supervisor saw me walk out. Aaaaaa...

But I really had to study for that test.

And I didn't!

Looks like I went all out.. in reality I only read the revision sheets and some pages from the Textbook
Well I did, but not as much as I could of, considering I left early on Friday! I was so exhausted! And I fell asleep. I tried to study a bit more after Fajr on saturday. OMG, I feel like such an idiot for trying to study in bed. of course i was dropping in and out of sleep! :(

So how did the test go?

Well, it was good and bad. I'm pretty sure I won't get 100%. There were some questions that asked for proofs from the Quran and Sunnah in the aqeedah test. Although I could pretty much say some hadeeths, I COULD NOT provide any Quran proofs because I didn't memorise them when I was studying! I felt SO BAD. When I was studying, I couldn't read the arabic.. I can read arabic. It's just that, it didnt have the vowel marks and since I don't have an arabic background, it was hard to discern. And I didn't have time while studying to actually look them up :( I thought of memorising the english translation, but I didnt do that either!

i am so frustrated with myself. But insha Allah I do well in Fiqh..

These tests dont really count to anything.. I mean, you don't get a certificate or anything like you do in some shari'ah schools. BUT THIS STUFF COUNTS FOR THE AKHIRAH! Of course I want to do well! 

Everything is make me so frustrated. All this literature review, honours DUNYA stuff is taking over what is really important. And my performance in that shariah exam is proof of it!

I should really juggle my priorities. I am just praying to Allah SWT that I can juggle my life more. So I can strive for success in this dunya, and also in the akhirah Insha Allah.

Other Weekend things I did..

Leisurely things that I have do so far are.. watching Japanese movies and making myself porridge for breakfast.

As a consolation for the guilt I was feeling after that shari'ah exam.. I watch 2 Japanese films that day. I watched "The Girl that Leapt through Time"(TGTLTT) and "Hana and Alice"(H&A)

I don't want to write a whole review about those two films in this post because that would make this weekend update blog post REALLY LONG. But, they were very cute movies and I guess you could say you'd feel good after watching it. In TGTLTT, I guess you'll feel a combination of sadness, but it really makes you think about love and stuff. It wasn't too deep but it was enjoyable.
With H&A, I was confused after watching it. But now that I've thought about it some more.. it wasn't really about the plot. It was about a friendship between 2 girls.

I don't want to spoil anything, but hey reader. If you're interested in watching it and want to read a review by me.. then please say so! Otherwise, i guess you could find some reviews on the internet LOL. I'm not that good of a writer.

And this morning, I ate porridge! But not only that, I cooked it myself! It was so delicious!
I was inspired to make it after watching a Jamie Oliver youtube video:

I made the poppy-seed one. It was real tasty but when my mum dug in, she said it was salty :(
She didn't like the coconut in the porridge. My dad doesn't really like porridge, but he had a spoonful and he said it tasted nice. My dad doesn't usually complement my cooking so it was nice to hear.

I remember making mac&cheese and he said that it was okay but it was the type of food he'd only eat if he was really hungry. And he didn't like my ice-cream cake i made a couple of years back because it was really hard.. like a brick. HAHAHAH so yeah. But I think my cooking's been improving.
and don't ask about what my sisters think of my cooking because they're just real difficult to please.

We also had a Korean bbq yesterday. a HOME-MADE korean bbq. We're still trying to figure out the side-dishes and sauces to go with the Korean BBQ but alhamdulillah the meat was tasty. The wagyu meat is really yummy :3 And I was doing the meat-grilling. I think I'm pretty good at cooking meat, ALHAMDULILLAH. I cooked the lamb chops when we went to the snow and my family really liked it :D and so did they with the wagyu meat ^_^

Anyways.. I enjoy cooking but for now, I don't think I'll be cooking an entire meal for my family soon. Don't want to make anyone leave the dinner table because it's so bad LOL.

Chores for the weekend

So there's this giant pile of ironing to do and I should do them ASAP. Or maybe I should leave it to the public holiday that's coming around this Friday? I should really get to making that presentation for my lab meeting on Thursday :S

I'm very nervous.

But Insha Allah everything goes well!