What I do on my break

My routine in the morning goes something like this. I wake up, grump at Eizwan for having to wake up and then check my stuff online (yes, I do go online even before I have my morning coffee). I read the news, check Twitter before checking my blog.

Recently though, I have not been checking my blog though. Mostly it’s because I’m feeling so guilty that I haven’t been blogging. I try not to say “I don’t have time!” as an excuse – it’s an excuse that annoys the hell out of me when I talk to people. But unfortunately, it is true. In between trying to start a new business and writing, I barely have time to eat, much less blog.

Which is a shame, because a lot of the stuff I enjoy doing have fallen on the wayside – even my daily dose of McNulty has been reduced to seeing Dominic West in John Carter, in the rare instance that I do go out.
So, who says that working with your family can be a dead end? Either you’ve never done so or you don’t have my family.

Anyway, after a crazy intense month, my parents declared they needed a break and headed down to Johor. Which means, a break for me!
The first morning they were gone felt very strange for me. After working constantly, including weekends and nights, it felt very strange and odd to not have any work. So I kept sending my parents work emails although they were driving down. Again, if you think it’s odd to be sending your parents work emails, you don’t work for my mother. For as long as I can remember, my mother has made her children sign contracts with her. For real.

It’s only fair, you know.

But I’m on a break! I shouldn’t be on my pc working. I should do stuff that I haven’t had time to do. Like clean up the house. Or play with the cats. Except the cats did not want to play with me. Instead they took turns babysitting me, keeping a watchful eye on me. As though they’re thinking “This human isn’t used to being at home. She might hurt herself.”

I wish I could sit still and rest because God knows I need it. But instead, I started scheming on the things I can do, things I can prep so that I could make our life easier in the coming ridiculously busy months.

I opted to prep frozen food, stuff that requires me to do minimum cooking on busy workdays. And of course, if you know me – why do the simple stuff when you can do the insane!? Why I’ve already bulked purchase my vegetables, blanched then and froze the. Now I can safely ignore and still not eat my veges and not feel guilty as they wilt away in the fridge.

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And if you’re going to freeze vege, why not freeze some burger buns for a quick dinner? And why do it the easy way by buying burger buns when you can make it yourself?

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I think it’s for this reason that my family points out that when I fall ill, I tend to fall ill spectacularly.

Steak Tartare

One of the reasons why I cook and experiment to a mad extent is because I keep halal. And one of the issues of keeping halal means that unless the food is prepared in a halal manner, I pretty much won’t eat it. I could eat it and I am willing to confess that I have once or twice in my entire life but the guilt overwhelms me, so much so that I can’t really remember what I eat, more the agonizing that follows after.

But I do admit that there will be some things that will be forever out of my grasp. Anything with pork obviously – which well, I don’t miss since you can’t really miss things you don’t experience. A lot of French food since they tend to douse their cooking with wine. That I sob a little.

And then, there are some of those really, really odd meals that I really wish I could try if they are made with halal meat. Like steak tartare.

Steak tartare seems like a bizarre choice to mourn considering there are plenty of other food stuff out there that I will miss. But in a strange way, I’ve always been fascinated by steak tartare since well, it’s raw beef. I suppose if I like raw fish I should like raw beef.

I told my mum about it on a drive home, that of all things I wish I could eat and will never have the chance to – it’ll be steak tartare. She asked me, why not.

“Because it’s pretty much raw beef. And since you can’t eat this in Paris since well, it’s not halal and in Malaysia…well, I don’t trust that the handling of the meat here is hygienic enough for us to eat steak tartare and not get food poisoning.”

“True.”

“I mean, look at the way we handle our meat. It’s clean but not clean enough. I’ve no idea where I can get super fresh meat unless I see the cow being cut in front of me.”

“Oh. You’re right.” She paused for awhile, as though to think. “Hey…I’ve an idea! You know what you can do. The best time to get fresh met is during Raya Haji (Eid ul Adha), when they sacrifice the cow. You can queue, get the meat and you can definitely get the freshest meat then!”

“Umi, I think there’s something seriously not right that you’re asking me to get meat meant for the poor to make a French dish meant to satisfy the pretentious side of me.”