Cream Puffs

Cream puff

A profiterole, cream puff or choux à la crème

Assalamualaikum and a very good evening to all. Hope life is treating everyone good.

Oman celebrated its 43rd National day last Monday 18th November but the official holiday for the National day will be on this coming Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th November. I am looking forward to this long weekend. No concrete plan has been made but insyaallah we will go somewhere. Oman is too beautiful to be left unexplored furthermore we are receiving guest this Wednesday, the more reason to go out in the sun hehehe.

We have been in Muscat since 28th August and we have been to a couple of places that I find it to be breathtaking. Oman has a very unique landscape; rocky mountains, sandy dunes, amazing beaches and not to forget natural wadis…. what is there not to love!

Amazing scenery from Muscat to Bimmah sinkhole

Amazing scenery from Muscat to Bimmah sinkhole

The first trip that we took was to the Bimmah sink hole and Wadi Al Shab during the eid holidays. Shukri and Anis with their 3 girls came over from Kuwait to spend 5 days in Muscat knowing that we just moved in and eid would be lonely without family and close friends. We really appreciate them coming all the way from Kuwait to our humble home just to keep us company. On the second day of eid holiday we went to Bimmah Sinkhole. Bimmah Sinkhole is located in the fenced and toilet-equipped Hawiyat Najm Park. It is approximately 1.5 hrs drive from Muscat.

Bimmah Sinkhole

Bimmah Sinkhole

Bimmah sinkhole occurred naturally due to limestone erosion. This sinkhole is said to be connected to the sea through an underground tunnel which then explain the unique colour of the water. We have no way of confirming this but my girls did taste the water and they said it taste slightly salted. So, maybe it is true that this sinkhole is connected to the sea which is one or two km away. You can actually swim here, so by all means, please bring your swimming costume people!

The water is so inviting

The water is so inviting

After spending about 1 hour here, we proceed to our next destination, Wadi Shab. Wadi Shab is approximately 20 km from Bimmah Sinkhole but since our GPS gave a weird location of this wadi, we kind of wonder off road for a while and go up a mountain hehehe. We then called a friend and she told us that this wadi so near to the road and should you already go up the mountain, you are definitely lost. Almost gave up, we decided to just proceed to Sur and then, suddenly the signboard appeared… what a relieve! It is just by the roadside…. well, at least some part of it. We parked our car and took a boat to the other side. The guy on the boat told us that you need to walk about 1 hour to the waterfall. Since we have children and baby with us, we decided to just walk to the first pool so that the kids could have a dip. The other tourist told us that it is just a 10 minutes walk but the the kids, not suitable foot ware and the heat factor, I swear that it took us almost 20 minutes to the pool. Thank God that the kids had fun in the water.

Wadi Shab

Wadi Shab

wadishab1

Walking to the first pool…tiring

After Wadi Shab, we drove to Sur for a late lunch and then headed home to Muscat. It was a long day but the scenery was to die for. In the next posting I’ll tell you our next adventure after the sinkhole and Wadi Shab, stay tune!

Okay, now we come to the new recipe for today, cream puff. I seriously do not remember where I got the recipe from but I Have been using this recepi since I first moved to Kuwait. Happy baking guys!

cream puff with vanilla pastry cream

Cream puff with vanilla pastry cream

Ingredient:

Choux Pastry:

  • 1 cup  all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large egg, lightly beaten

Pastry Cream:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 large yolks – beaten
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar (you can reduce this if you do not fancy a sweet pastry cream)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

Choux Pastry:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl sift together flour,sugar and salt.
  3. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. (Make sure that the butter melts before the water boils to reduce the amount of evaporation.)
  4.  Remove from heat and with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined.
  5. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball
  6. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste.
  7. Spoon or pipe 24 small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees C. Continue to bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are almost dry inside. Turn the oven off and with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells completely cool.
  9. When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pastry cream, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pastry cream into the shells.

 

Pastry Cream:

  1. Place the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Once melted add sugar, salt and corn flour. Mix well.
  2. Add milk and cook until just about to boil.
  3. Add the egg slowly, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the mixture become thick.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
  5. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Can be refrigerate for 2-3 days

Can be refrigerated for 2-3 days

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New Place we call Home

Assalamualaikum and a very good evening to everyone out there. Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah swt  for all his blessings and lessons that has been sent my way. Truly, we as human most of the time always forget to thank Allah for his countless blessings that he has bestowed upon us and always complaint when been tested. As human we need to remember that all the tests that has been sent to us are ways and means to increase our iman and taqwa towards Him. May Allah swt grant us patience whenever we are faced with crisis. Sound serious eh, hehehe well this is self reminder… just to remind myself not jump whenever “not so good thing” happens. Sabar sabar sabar.

Okay… what is it that I’m suppose to write?? Oh… my new home. Well… it has been 2 months since we first moved in into our new home in Madinat Sultan Qaboos (MQ) area. Alhamdulillah, most of the things are already in order except for few minor things that still need to be done. I am so glad that “house hunting” episode is done.

We live in a compound area consist of 22 villas

We live in a compound

Seriously, finding a suitable house here was really a challenge for me. Don’t remember it been so difficult when we first moved to Kuwait but then again, my other half did all the house hunting for us back then hehehe. Honestly after countless house viewing done, I never thought that we would be able to find one, especially with all of our “requirements”.

Our private patio that leads to the swimming area

Our private patio that leads to the swimming area

Shared swimming pool

Shared swimming pool

When we moved from Kuwait, we brought all our stuff that has been accumulated for 5 years. Banyak mana? Well, it fits the whole of 40 foot container… just imagine trying to find a house that can fit all those stuff. Don’t get me wrong…. there are tons of houses here in Muscat but every house that we viewed, there bound to be something that was  not right, either the kitchen cant fit our cooker, the bedroom is small and has no wardrobe, the parking is too narrow or the ceiling is too low hehehe. Another thing that I was struggling with was  because all of the houses here are multi level and I’m so used to single floor apartment while we were in Kuwait. Well, you can’t get everything,right. So if you ask me whether I manage to get single level house, then the answer is a big NO. Hehehe guess what…. my new house has 4 levels! Believe it or not, we even has a elevator in the house kahkahkah.

Living area

Living area

This new house has 5 bedrooms; all with attached bathroom. Just imagine how many bathrooms I need to clean in a month, not counting another 2 guest toilets. Can I request for a maid???? hehehe. Aina and Nurin managed to get approval from their father for personal room and they occupy the top floor. Sofea, Jessy and Haqeem  is sharing a room on the same level as the master bedroom. The most difficult thing for me to get use to is to wake everybody up everyday because before this I just need to walk from one end to another and now I need to walk up and down… I hate it! Since I hate it so much climbing the stairs, my other half does all the “waking up” every morning and all  I need to do is go down and prepare breakfast.

Okay…. let me just give a brief description about the area that we are staying now. Madinat Sultan Qaboos (MQ) is a suburb of Muscat, the capital of Sultanate of Oman.  It is situated less than one kilometer from the sea and is well connected to the rest of the city by the country main highways; Sultan Qaboos Street and Muscat Expressway. MQ is a very mature residential area with a small commercial area where you can find proper restaurant, fast food outlet, supermarket, bank, pharmacy, bookstores, laundry and hangout place such as Costa Coffee and Starbuks. My house is actually a walking distance to this commercial area which I find it very convenient. The distance to the school is also very reasonable…normally it takes me about 10 minutes to drive the kids to school every morning. This is important as 3 out of 5 days, kids have clubs which requires me to make two trips to the school in the afternoon and should the driving time and the distance is somewhat “crazy”, it could easily turn this mum into a monster and believe me, nobody wants a monster mum hehehe.

Have a great weekend people!

Istanbul Trip Part4

Assalamualaikum and Salam Maal Hijrah buat semua. كل عام و انتم بخير

Day 4: Monday, 25th February 2013

Everyone was looking forward to this day… Grand Bazaar time!

On day 4 of the trip, our family decided to make a short trip to Basilica Cistern whereas the other 2 families went straight to Grand Bazaar. Basilica Cistern is located near the Sultan Ahmet Square. It is an ancient cistern that lie beneath city of Istanbul which act as a reservoir for water storage for the Great Palace.

Inside the Basilica Cistern

Inside the Basilica Cistern

More columns

More columns

There are 336 columns in the cistern and if you walked to the far left-hand corner of the cistern, you will see 2 Medusa heads. Both heads are used as a based column with one positioned upside down and the other tilted to the side. The reason why they are placed in such a way remain mystery to this very day. It is an awesome place to visit and definitely a must visit place in Istanbul.

Another Medusa Head

Medusa Head

Medusa head

Another Medusa head

After Basilica Cistern we proceed to the Grand Bazaar via tram. Grand Bazaar opens daily except on Sunday from 9:00 to 19:00. By the time we reached Grand Bazaar it was almost noon and it was packed with people.

Shops outside Grand Bazaar

Shops outside Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered bazaar in the world. The bazaar is truly huge and finding your way out of this bazaar maze is really a challenge especially if you don’t pay attention to where you’re going hehehe . If I’m not mistaken there are 5 major gates to the Grand Bazaar and depending on which gate you take it will bring you to different section of the bazaar. The shops here are more or less are group together into sections, depending on what are they selling, for example leather goods, ceramic and souvenirs, handbags, carpets, antiques, clothes and so on.

Jewellery shops inside the bazaar

Jewellery shops inside the bazaar

Souviner shops

Souvenir shops

Ceramic and glass lamp shades

Ceramic and glass lamp shades

What did we buy there? Hahaha… lots of stuff. As always… we would walk around (look see look see hehehe) and find out what are there to buy and then check out their prices. Once we have establish the baseline then only we start  bargaining for the items. In order to make a good deal you have to be willing to invest your time in finding a shop that willing to accept your offer… which we were not that willing to do so simply because we traveled with 5 kids and they easily get bored and stress. Having said that, we were quite happy with the prices that we got. Okay… things that we bought at the Grand Bazaar were some ceramic plates, fridge magnet, t-shits, clothes and last but not least… leather jackets. Leather jackets here are so cheap and they do offer an alteration service as long as you are willing to wait for half an hour. If you must know…my other half is a leather jacket maniac and he loves the army type of design and guess what… he found that very design there… so apa lagi beli lah hehehe and the fact that the shop owner was able to alter the jacket hand for him, it really made his day. Senyum sampai ke telinga muahahaha.

After all those shopping… we stop at one of the kebab shop and had our late lunch and….. I finally found a kebab that almost resemble the bebek kebab from Sheffield…. at last sampai jugak hajat hehehe. By the time we finished lunch, the kids started to acting up so we decided to send them back to the hotel and then make a quick visit to Hagia Sophia.

Sultanet Ahmet Square

Sultanet Ahmet Square

Hagia Sofia from a distance

Hagia Sofia from a distance

Hagia Sofia view from Sultanet Ahmad Square

Hagia Sofia view from Sultanet Ahmad Square

That evening we went to street and revisit the Spice Bazaar.

Street Market

Street Market

Tersusuk keletihan hehehe

Terduduk keletihan hehehe

The ladies were trying leather gloves in one of the shops near Spice Bazaar

The ladies were trying leather gloves in one of the shops near Spice Bazaar

The guys with their brand new leather jackets (from Grand Bazaar)and trying a leather beret.

The guys with their brand new leather jackets (from Grand Bazaar) and trying a leather beret.