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It was the period of Al Jarreau, Journey and The Police.  I was 13 years old.  I had just come back from school with a message for my parents.

“They’re not offering Commerce in my school,” I said, and promptly burst into tears.

My parents didn’t understand the intensity of my emotions and dismissed it as a phase all teenage girls go through.  After all, what could possibly be so terrifying about cooking classes?

In the old days, female students were streamlined into “Commerce” and “Home Science” depending on their inclination.  Having grown up in a predominantly male environment, I had an aversion for cooking, sewing and cleaning, all of which were covered in the Home Science stream.  As I scanned through my Home Science text book that night, I shivered.  I read Chapter 1, Safety Measures on Using a Stove.  I burst into tears again.  They’re going to marry me off early,  I thought to myself.  When I eventually nodded off to sleep, my dreams were filled with visions of child brides, toothless husbands and exploding stoves.

As fate would have it, within a week, the school had a new teacher who could teach Commerce, and all students were quickly segregated to the respective streams based on their primary school grades.  It was a simplistic method and an overly easy way out for the administrative office – the ones in the first two classes were put in Commerce, while the rest were put in Home Science, presumably so that they could be married off easily upon completion of high school.  As a naive 13-year-old, I didn’t think too much of it.  All that mattered to me was that I didn’t have to study Home Science.  In one careless, uncomplicated decision, my fate was sealed.  I studied Commerce, went on to become an accountant, and got married at the ripe old age of 32.  I also did not encounter any exploding stoves.

******

My friend, Adle, who currently lives in Canada, initiated our class reunion.  Once she got the ball rolling, Janice and Ivy managed to get flight tickets from Australia and France, and soon after that, we got the locals to commit to a date.  Other than a grand get-together at Simply Mel’s, a smaller group of us decided to spend the day cooking at Bayan Indah.  With the help of Yvonne, our Malaysian liaison, we locked in a date with Rohani Jelani and gave her a list of dishes we wanted to learn how to cook.  Over the years, we had all developed a mutual appreciation for good food and, via Facebook, we shared our love for it.  As such, it made perfect sense to consolidate our discussions and organise a private class with the affable Rohani Jelani.  I have said so much of her and her classes in previous posts (see links below), and I will not hesitate in recommending Bayan Indah to those who want to learn hands-on cooking in a warm, friendly environment.

******

And so we toiled over the stove as we whipped up ayam percik, briyani, rendang, fish curry, char koay teow and tako, not always with the ease of experienced chefs, but with laughter, camaraderie and intimacy that only old friends can understand.

Thirty years later, without the benefit of attending Home Science classes, it feels like we’ve finally come full circle.

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Bayan Indah’s website – www.bayanindah.com

Past posts on Bayan Indah:
Cooking Class with Rohani Jelani at Bayan Indah
A Second Cooking Class at Bayan Indah

 

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Chicken rendang

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Table setting

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Ayam percik

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Janice working the blender

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Char koay teow

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Yvonne and Ivy looking chirpy

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Fish curry

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Easy briyani

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Rohani Jelani with Adle

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A birthday cake for Rohani

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A satisfying labour of love

I was already in bed when Bald Eagle came home from work.  As he reached over to kiss me, I could detect a faint smell of coffee on his breath.  To be specific, it smelled like caramel latte.  To be even more precise, it smelled like the caramel latte macaron I had just bought from Delectable by Su that evening which I hoped to savour the next day.

“Mmmm….the macaron was good,” he murmured.

“Don’t tell me you ate my macaron,” I said.

“Of course I ate it,” he said, nonchalantly.

“But it’s MY macaron,” I exclaimed.

“Yup, ” he replied.

“My macaron.”

“Uh-huh.”

********

An hour later, I nudged him, trying to call his bluff.  “You really ate my macaron?”

“It’s gone now.”

“You ate my macaron,” I sniffled.

“If it were your macaron, dear, you wouldn’t have displayed it in full prominence in the fridge to tempt me,” he explained, as he would to a child.

And with that, the matter was closed.

********

Having tasted several giant macarons from the shop prior to the case of my disappearing macaron, I can attest to the fact that Su’s macarons have a lovely texture; a crisp outer shell and a fudgy centre, with flavours that are not overly cloying.  The size, easily 6-7 cm in diameter, allows for more consistency in texture.  I do love the lemon raspberry macaron which provides a refreshing contrast in flavours.  The salt in the salted chocolate macaron, on the other hand, is a bit undetectable – I would have liked it more had the flavour been more prominent.  However, I am unable to comment on the caramel latte macaron thanks to a hungry husband, but I’m hoping he’ll read this and return the favour one day.  Soon.

Delectable by Su
Shops in The Gardens Mall and Pavilion KL.

 

 

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At which point does happiness start and end?

Some time last year, I put up a picture on Facebook, a somewhat unflattering picture of myself sans makeup, my hair messed up, and my face plastered with a wide goofy grin as I leaned back against my husband.  I labelled it simply “Happiest Day of my Life”.  We were at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina and I had experienced a baptism of sorts, a cleansing of the spirit and a reminder that there is a greater hand in control of our lives and our world.  And while Tim went away to enjoy a boat ride to the falls, I opted to sit on a rock near the falls in solitude, my thin clothes offering me little warmth thanks to my hardheadedness at wanting to experience nature up close without a raincoat.  I was a sight – a candidate for a wet t-shirt contest, although my physical aspects were less appealing considering that my competition consisted of buxom Argentinian lasses with boobs spilling out of their bras.  It would be incorrect, though, to say that I didn’t get any attention.  Little old ladies thought it fit to interrupt my reverie by asking me to take photographs of them because I must have looked like I desperately wanted to take photographs of little old ladies at the falls.

I guess my point is that happiness doesn’t start or end.  Each experience, each interaction, each action brings about a different kind of appreciation for blessedness.  And the moment I realised this while sitting on that rock at the falls, I knew that I could count my blessings under any circumstance.

***********

I’m doing this as a favour to my friend who owns Tanamera.  It isn’t food related, but you can definitely get a whiff of lemongrass in some of their products.   I’ve been using Tanamera products for a couple of years already and I am absolutely in love with their products.  The bath products, body lotions and skincare smell heavenly.  My favourite products are the Spa Jerneh bodywash which, naturally, smells of lemongrass, lemon, lime and ginger, and the complementary body moisturizer with similarly refreshing scents.  I carry these items with me when I am on holiday as a little reminder of the tropics.

If you’re keen to know more, or you’d like to grab Tanamera products at discounted prices, do drop by at Central Market this Sunday, 25 March, between 11am and 5pm.  Tanamera is also working with EcoKnights on a recycling programme, so bring your old clothes along and exchange them for free Tanamera goodies.

Check out these links: http://www.tanamera.com.my/ and http://www.tanameraspa.com.my/ as well as http://www.facebook.com/TanameraSpa  and http://www.facebook.com/events/233766183379511/  on Facebook.

See you at Central Market!

tanamera day flyer (1)

 

 

 

About this blog

Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.


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