Friday, August 29, 2008

Supper with the family

I haven't had my parents over at my home in a while, so last night they came over for supper. My mom was making her rounds before Ramadaan starts, she visited Nadia on Tuesday evening as well.

I had decided to make a seafood dish, as my mom is crazy about it!! I'm still waiting on a certain somebody to provide me with the recipe for Prawn Fried Rice (read: Plawn Flied Lice, LOL!!) And Aqeedah made macaroni and cheese for the children. Dessert was hot chocolate pudding served with warm custard and fresh cream.

The evening was spent playing with Amjad because Aqeedah insisted that Ma bring him along. He has grown so much Masha-Allah. And he's quite the drama queen when he throws his tantrums!!

I didn't have much time to catch up with Raihaana while preparing the food but we had a great time anyway. I relish in spending time with all of them, it makes life so much more vibrant.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An evening with the ladies

Cindy and Debbie being as foolish as ever!!
I have been rather late with this post reasons being, I wanted to add pictures to it. I didn't have my camera with me at the time and was waiting for one of the ladies to email the pics they took. Nonetheless, I have finally received some of the pics, Shukran Shaheema and thank you Debbie!!

Shiehaam, Debbie, Cindy, myself, Aneesa, Shaheema and Tamryn

This time around our meeting took place at a local coffee shop. And boy, oh boy, did the ladies get to network!! The group has now grown to approximately 8 ladies, instead of the initial 4. Leona could unfortunately not be there but she was sorely missed!! After all the introductions were made we ordered our food. Then the fun began!! We spoke about anything and everything!! I think the manager of the coffee shop thought that we were from another planet, LOL!! We took over completely and you'd swear we were the only patrons!! We asked one of the waitresses to take the pic of the group.

Moi, Aneesa, Shaheema and Tamryn

It feels real good when you are able to connect with ladies on such a level of understanding, it's rare in this day and age!! Well, we're planning to go away for weekend after the Ramadaan Insha-Allah!! Oooohhhh weeeeee, I can't wait, it's something I'm really looking forward to and it's going to be the perfect opportunity to just do girly stuff!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Snowball Recipe

Shoo!! My week so far has certainly been hectic. It's month end on my side and I don't know if I'm coming or going!! My apologies, Nazrah, for the late posting of the snowball recipe. Anyhow, below is step by step instructions as well as pics.

You will need the following:

125g butter

50ml oil

1 cup (250ml) sugar

1tsp (5ml) vanilla essence

2 cups (500ml) self raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

50ml milk

3 large eggs

Sauce ingredients:

Equal amounts of boiling water and apricot jam.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl add butter, oil, sugar and vanilla essence.

Beat butter, oil, sugar and vanilla essence well until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Then add half the flour mixture, once you add the dry ingredients do not beat the mixture too much. This will cause the snowballs to rise to a point when you bake them, instead of being flat.

Then mix in half the liquid.

Then, add the rest of the dry ingredients as well as the last of the milk. Once again, do not beat the mixture too much. Divide the mixture between 3 bowls equally. The mixture in one bowl should be left as is. The mixture in the 2 remaining bowls should be colored with a few drops of food coloring, green and red food coloring would do. The mixture should not be too dark, so be careful when adding the color. I use a toothpick to add the coloring.

Spray muffin or bun trays with non stick cooking spray. Place a teaspoon of each color mixture in every cavity. Depending on the size of the snowball, one batch makes about 30 snowballs.

Bake for about 12 minutes until springy to the touch. Allow to cool completely.

Bring the ingredients for the sauce to boil until the jam has dissolved completely. The sauce should not be too watery and not too thick either. To check that you have the right consistency, when the sauce has cooled, dip your finger in it and rub with the thumb. It should feel sticky but not thick.

Dip each snowball into the jam sauce and then roll in fine desiccated coconut. Do not soak in sauce, it will become too soggy and break.

And voila!! Your snowballs are done, to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!!

Happy baking and keep me posted on your efforts!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beautiful end to a somber weekend!!

Between worrying about Shaheema's dad and my own circumstances that I find myself in, my weekend was not at all that it should have been. Nevertheless I'm pleased to say that Shaheema's dad has been discharged from hospital and is recuperating at home, Alghudulillah!! And I managed to dance myself into a frenzy at home on Saturday to dispel my somber mood!! Endorphins really put those sad thoughts to rest, don't they??!!

Sunday morning dawned cold and wet, but I was so looking forward to attending Amaan's wedding. Amaan is a very good friend I met while working at a previous company. When I met him I had no idea that he was not Muslim, his countenance and the way he spoke told me otherwise. Little did I realise that it was definitely his intention to embrace Islam as soon as he was ready to do so.

He embraced Islam in May Masha-Allah!! And on Sunday he married Faranaaz, he celebrated his wedding day as well as his birthday!! The wedding was well attended by ex work colleagues as well as friends and family members!!

Chocolate mousse cake provided by moi!!

Amaan and his beautiful bride, Faranaaz!!

Ghaalietha & I with the bridal couple!!

Cindy, my kids and the Couple!!

Shukran to you Amaan and Faranaaz, it was a beautiful wedding. May Allah continue to guide the both of you on your new journey together Insha-Allah Ameen!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sad news!

This morning on reaching my workplace, I received bad news from my cousin Shaheema. Her dad suffered seizures last night and was rushed to hospital!!

I spoke to her this morning after receiving her sms but because we were both too emotional we couldn't say much!! At times like this I feel completely helpless because I can do nothing to ease her and her family pain. Another lesson in patience and the realisation that Allah is the Planner of all things. We just need to make sabr and dua that all will be well Insha-Allah Ameen!!

Shaheema my sweet, you and your family are in my duas. Although very difficult to understand and come to grips with right now, you of all people would know that there is a reason for everything!! One more reason for us to never take our time on this earth for granted!! May Allah give you the strength to get through this and may Allah make things easy for your mom too!! I LOVE YOU!!

This will be my post for today, I cannot concentrate on anything right now!! I would really appreciate it if everyone could keep this family in there duas Insha-Allah Ameen!!

Khas boenallah wa nie'mal wakeel!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Yesterday I had an interesting response to an email with someone I regard as a very intellectual individual. I asked his opinion on something and his response was excellent no doubt. Shukran to you Abu Hafidz. But, then I questioned him with regards to the constant negativity, violence and pessimism that we're subject to every single day. It is quite evident when you switch on the television and behold the daily events that have unfolded.

I am normally a very positive person but I suppose I have my days. What I'm trying to say, is that I was focusing on all the negativity instead of looking at all the good things happening. Two events shifted my perspective completely. The first one happened yesterday on my journey home from work. A couple of kilometres from my home, the bus I was travelling in was crossing a robot. As it made it's way across a car coming from the opposite side nearly knocked right into the bus!! It was like something out of a movie, everything happened in slow motion!! I had such a fright, my heart nearly popped out of my mouth!! The first thing that popped into my head at the time was my children at home. Who would see to them if anything happened to me now?? Everyone on the bus screamed as if that would make the car swerve away. It did, on the last minute though, to everyones relief!!

When I disembarked my legs were shaking and I had to stand still for a couple of seconds to regain my composure. When I arrived home, my kids could see something was amiss and enquired about my mood. I told them what had almost happened and they expressed relief that mummy made it home safely!! The second event happened this afternoon after a receiving an email from a very good friend, Sheeyaam. I have sent the email to everyone on my contact list, as I hope it would inspire them as it inspired me!! It is a lengthy read but well worth it!! The following is the email I received:

The Quest!
By: Zaytoon Akhalwaya Abed

A family that prays together stays together! The family you are about to meet lives and breathes this saying and serves as a source of inspiration to others especially for families in Islam.

Five years ago a close knit Christian family went about their daily lives preparing to move from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean of Kwa Zulu Natal to the frigid waters of the Atlantic in the Western Cape. This Anglican family did not realise the plan Allah SWT had for them as soon as they set foot in the Mother City. It would take the youngest son to take the first steps towards Islam and his bravery and love for Allah would cause a domino effect in this orthodox Anglican family’s path to accepting Islam. Iman the oldest sister shares their remarkable journey in searching and accepting hidayat and finding peace and unity in deen.

“Growing up in an orthodox Anglican family going every Sunday to Church becomes a mundane habit or way of life. I use to feel as if I could do anything I wanted with no restrictions or boundaries and that going to Church on a Sunday would rectify all my wrong doing. At Church it felt like all I ever did was sit, stand and kneel I felt no spirituality. My brother the youngest in our family decided at the age of fifteen to go on a camp, little did we know that it was an Islamic camp. On his return he broke the news to us that he is practising Islam. Nabeel Abdul Haqq began our Islamic quest for five years he learnt how to practise Islam and live Islam and at the age of 20 he took his Shahadah. When Nabeel told us about reverting to Islam my parents was shocked but supportive. We have always been open to other religions but when reversion happens in your home it can shake you up and almost feels like a betrayal. My mother told Nabeel that if he chose Islam and to be a Muslim he must become a very good Muslim.”

Allah’s plan already in motion spread further to the sister. Already engaged to a Muslim she saw Islam and not long after her brother took the Shahada. Nazreen Shukura recited Shahada and dedicated her life to Allah. Nabeel, after reciting the Shahadah knew that he had to spread the message of Allah to the family, Islam began to flow through their home faster than expected. Not long thereafter witnessing the Shahadah of both her children Zarina Quiaba (mother) began to get excited about learning more about this beautiful and peaceful religion of Islam. Zarina read a book `The Way of Muhammad (SAW)’ by author Sheikh Abdul Kader and the very next morning declared that she was ready to recite and accept the Shahadah. Even though Iman was witnessing her family submitting and surrendering to the Mercy of Allah SWT she still could not find herself interested or excited enough to accept Islam, Iman continues…

“Everything started to change rapidly in front of us. When my mum decided to accept the Shahadah my father a priest for 20 years was swept off his feet. He was so shocked he did not know what to do. It was more difficult for my mother because she knew that if my father chose the Church their marriage would end because as a Muslim she could not stay in that marriage. In the back of my father’s mind he knew the devastating truth too. Our family has always been close but as Islam embraced our home we began to feel even closer to each other. My mother would attend regular Zikr nights and at times I would join her. Before Hidayat came to me I partied hard and lived a very un-Islamic life. I always felt as if there was a void in my heart, a restless soul searching for spiritual and inner peace. During this time of change I suddenly found myself resigning from my job at a brewery company and decided not to re-new my contract, I attended more Zikr evenings and out of the blue I decided to take the Shahadah. My family was so happy they cried with joy. The day I read the Shahadah I felt as if there was this powerful light or noor enveloping me and in the morning I felt like a new born baby, intensely happy and at peace.

Iman’s father was shocked and never thought his oldest daughter would accept Islam but the family was in for an even bigger surprise when their father an Anglican Priest known fondly as Father Vishnu Appalasamy decided to meet with a well known Islamic scholar at a Masjid near by and when he returned home decided to recite the Shahadah. He found his family in tears as he completed the families move from Christianity to Islam.

“Ahmed Abdullah, my father watched us live and practise Islam and it was this visual feast that attracted him towards Islam. We received unconditional support from our Muslim community and the challenge now for us was letting the Church know. We have been living across the road from the Church and the house we live in belongs to the Church. We had to play safe for awhile in order to make sure our finances were in order and that we could make a clean break from the Church. My brother Nabeel was on Voice of the Cape Radio station and was part of a show on Revert Muslims when he openly spoke about my father’s reversion and invited the Muslim community to share in this honourable moment. My father had called a meeting with the Church since he had resigned earlier but the Church was not aware that his resignation had to do with his acceptance of Islam. The joke in this is that the Church had scheduled a farewell party for my father and when they heard we all had become Muslims they cancelled it. On the day my father took the Shahadah the Church asked us to leave the house but Alhumdulillah with Allah’s kudrat they showed some support and allowed us until the end of the month to leave. We already found a place and we hope to move insha’Allah before Ramadhaan. We are so excited about spending Ramadhaan together as a Muslim family. My nine year old son Dylan is at a Christian Boarding school. As a single mum it is difficult but Islam has strengthened me and my son is already learning about Islam and has chosen the name Irshaad. I will be taking him out of this school and he will return home and as soon as he is baaligh he will become Muslim insha’Allah."

“Our family is now stronger than ever. We pray together as a family and life is so much sweeter. I will not make it my life’s ambition to recruit new Muslims by preaching I would rather they saw Islam and witness it in its entirety and make the life changing decision themselves to accept Allah and follow the footsteps of our Beloved Muhammad SAW. Allah plans for us, we just go through each day as it comes…”

Makes you think doesn't it??!! Allah surely is Great!! And eventually good does out number bad or evil. If the media would stop concentrating all their energies on negativity and publish more stories like this one, there could be change!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Those winter love handles doth protest too much!!

Yes, yes I know, it was bound to happen sooner than later!! Well, now that it has, am I going to do anything about it?? I don't think so, well not yet anyway!! LOL!!

My winter binging has now reached epidemic proportions!! Suffice to say, that I have now developed what I would call a spare tyre around the waist!! Nadia was commenting on the same the other day and so did Smooches!! I don't feel so bad any longer, I suppose we all tend to overdo it some time or the other!! One good thing about my weight gain though, is that I've been able to camouflage it very well. So if I should mention it in company, I'd get looks of disbelief and comments on where I was hiding the said weight!! My mirror tells no lies!!

My weekend was spent baking once again. There's certainly no getting away from that!! Not when you have your customers threatening to break down your door if you take too long to answer!! I had snowballs and cupcakes coming out of my ears once again. I also need to start on the orders for pies and quiche for Ramadaan. There's no rest for the wicked, as they say.

Snowballs, dipped in heated jam and rolled in coconut.

Cupcakes piped with chocolate frosting

See what I mean?? How am I supposed to stay away from this?? LOL!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Aqeedah's trip to Robben Island

As I've mentioned before, it is Aqeedah's last year on primary school. Last week and Friday her life skills teacher, Mrs Jones, took them on an excursion to Robben Island. She was very excited but apprehensive too because she feared getting sea sick.

For those who do not know, Robben Island was the place where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for over 25 years of his life, and was later released to become the first black and democratically elected president of South Africa. It is an island located in Table Bay, seven kilometres off the coast of Cape Town.

Robben Island draws thousands of tourists every year. A visit to this National monument would shed light on the circumstances and habitat of the apartheid prisoners held during that time. It is also a place that is now synonymous with leaders and the struggle of freedom in South Africa.

I have added links to my post, the sites are very informative if you're wanting to glean more information with regards to this topic. The link to Nelson Mandela's autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, is most certainly an engrossing read. Enjoy!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

When push comes to shove....

I consider myself a very patient person. I will only rock the boat after being pushed to my limit. One such incident occurred recently.

I've been working at the present company for a few months now. When I started, I was forewarned about the sales manager who was abrupt and was especially crude towards females. I suppose forewarned is forearmed??? Not in this case. Anyhow, my first 2 months was okay, I opted to ignore him completely when he went off on a tangent. Then, his behaviour became intolerable, sexual innuendos of the crudest kind, profanities I've never heard before and habitual tantrums that would see to it that he eventually had his way!! Oh, and did I mention that he would call me or Sarah down to his work station with the pretext of discussing work, only to TRY and grope us!! NOT on his life!!

When he noticed that we ignored him and only spoke to him with regards to work and nothing else, he became worse. Trying to talk to the manager was a mission because he reasoned that the guy was an asset to the company!! Apparently he's been in the business for 25 years and he is the only one here who has the most technical knowledge of the products being sold!! Hogwash I tell you!! I literally had to drag myself out of bed to get to work, something I now dreaded and did not enjoy any longer. Then one Monday morning he and Sarah had a huge fall out and he refused to apologise for his behaviour. She called a meeting with the manager with him sitting in on the conversation. She had her say and he was adamant that he had done nothing wrong!! She stormed out of the office, refusing to come back until he apologised or resigned. He certainly had no intention of doing so. Sarah resigned the following day, she completed her notice period working from home.

My patience was running out, I had to do something about this situation before it became worse than it already was. I had 2 options, find another job or stick it out. Well, I decided that there was no way that I could allow someone to manipulate me like this. So, one morning I arranged a meeting with the manager. The best thing about this meeting was that I was as cool as a cucumber and I said everything I needed to say without being rude. I told him that I could no longer tolerate this guy's behaviour and that if there weren't any changes soon, I'd have to find myself another job. I also told him that in no way do I encourage this employee and why is it that nothing has been done about his behaviour??? Then I threw the bomb, I told the manager if I left the company, I wouldn't do so quietly as Sarah had done!! I would take the matter further and he knew that the company would also get into trouble because they have done nothing to stop this particular employee. The manager promised to have a word with him privately and he finally agreed that this employee's behaviour should come to an end.

As quickly as the following day I noticed a change in this man's behaviour. He addressed me respectfully without shouting, he said 'thank you' and 'please'. The sexual innuendos were non existent and the profanities disappeared altogether!! Now, that's more like it!! My work environment has now become more pleasant and more productive too. This has been another learning curve for me, ultimately, we are the ones who are in control of how people treat us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Those winter love handles....

The winter months in Cape Town are mostly cold and wet. I suppose that's why I have a tendency to want to eat more!! I love to make good, wholesome stews and soups but what would a wintry evening be without a hot pudding for dessert??!!!

That is my weakness certainly!! So every evening without fail, after supper I serve something warm and sweet. Oh so yummy!! The only downside is, that I tend to gain a few kilograms and my exercise regime flies out the window!! LOL!!

After preparing supper last night I mentioned to no one in particular that I was going to make some Malva pudding for dessert. The reaction from my kids ranged from glee to all out exuberance, with Aqeedah giving me a huge hug and a sloppy kiss!! It is one of their favorite desserts. So today I'll share the recipe with you. Malva pudding is fairly easy to make and the ingredients are simple because you'll always have them in your cupboard.

You will need:

1 cup (250ml) sugar

1 tblsp butter

4 tblsp jam (preserve)

1 large egg

1 cup (250ml) flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 cup (250ml) milk

2 tsp vinegar

2 tsp vanilla essence


125ml cream or milk

4 tblsp sugar

20g butter

2 tblsp water, if using cream

The method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, beat sugar, butter, jam and egg until light and thick. Sift together flour and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl. Then mix milk, vinegar and vanilla essence in another bowl. Add flour to egg mixture and fold in. Slowly add the liquid and beat until blended through. Grease an oven proof dish and pour mixture into it, cover with aluminium foil so that it doesn't burn. Allow it to bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot and heat till it boils. When you have removed the pudding from the oven, slowly pour sauce over. Serve warm with dollops of fresh cream or pouring custard.

Now, there's a certain way to eating your malva pudding. Find a secluded spot if you can (I normally eat mine when the kids have retired to bed), remove your shoes and make yourself comfortable. As you scoop a piece with your spoon and put it in your mouth, close your eyes and DON'T chew. Allow the cream to fill your senses and push your tongue up against your palate. The pudding is so soft and caramelly it will just melt in your mouth!! MMMMMMM, savour the moment before you scoop off another piece, continue like this until you have finished your portion. Pure bliss I tell you!!

Here's to more wintry nights filled with yummy, hot puddings. I'm sure the love handles won't protest too much!! LOL!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fairy Wonderland party!!

Most of my weekend was spent baking for 2 kiddies parties. That is beside the cake that I made for the women's day function. Now, like Nazrah, I'm feeling the strain in my back!!

Both parties were for one year old children, one boy and one girl. The boy's mom wanted a cake in the shape of a car as well as a chocolate mousse cake for the adults. And the girl's mom wanted fairy cupcakes as well as fairy wands. The cupcakes were very pretty with sugared butterflies and edible glitter sprinkled onto the icing. The fairy wands were made with biscuits in the shape of stars stuck to a bamboo skewer.

Fadia, the little girl's mom, had received quotes from various venues for a party. The prices ranged from crazy to absolute insanity!! LOL!! Hence she decided on doing everything at home with the same theme at a fraction of the cost. She purchased little fairy figurines to hang from the ceiling, stuck butterflies to the walls and hung fairy lights too!!

Fadia's sister made the birthday cake. A beautiful fairy castle!!

The tables were adorned with pink place settings for each little girl as well as marshmallow sticks, chips, sweets and other yummy goodies!!

And the birthday girl was dressed to suit the theme too!! Little Zahrah, as pretty as a fairy princess!! I wish I was a little girl again!! LOL!!

With a little improvisation and a lot of planning all moms can certainly pull off a party most children can only dream of!! Happy planning!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Women's day function

Every year, the madrassa that my children attend hosts a function for the ladies, commemorating Women's Day. This year was no exception. The theme this year was the importance of the Holy Quraan in our daily lives. An old topic but certainly not an exhausted one, as we need to be reminded of this constantly!!

The program started with a 11 year old boy who has learned 13 chapters of the Quraan by heart already. His recitation was so powerful and melodious, it brought me to tears!! Then we were introduced to a 78 year old woman who had just completed reading a Surah and had progressed to the Quraan, Masha-Allah. Bringing home the adage that one was never too old to learn or to seek knowledge!! She went into a rendition of how she made her intention of learning to read the Quraan and how she followed through with it.

Then the different grades made an appearance on stage giving us insights on A-Hadeeth, Nazms and beautiful recitals of different Surahs in the Holy Quraan. Aqeedah's grade recited Surah Feel and sang the song 'I think my mummy is amazing', a beautiful song depicting the day dreams of an orphan girl!!

My friends Gadijah and Ruwaydah had a good time too. It was exactly what they needed to inspire them and keep them heading on the right track. Lunch was served, consisting of lovely mutton akhni, as well as pies, samoosas and cocktail pizzas!! I had made yummy cupcakes as well.

Ruwaydah posing for the camera!!

Gadijah giving a big smile for the camera!!