Brownies recipe

2 comments
When I and 11 of my best friends (and two babies) met for a sleepover a couple of weeks back, we mostly did three things: talk, cook, and eat. We made some brownies for dessert, but most of my crazy friends were busy talking themselves hoarse when I was mixing it up, (and there wasn't space for all of us in the kitchen), so after we all went home, some of them asked me to put together a video tutorial.

Here it is:


Make These Brownies Now from Nabeelah on Vimeo.

Recipe notes:
  1. This recipe is for a half-batch. I used a 7-inch square pan to bake it in.
  2. The original recipe calls for (white) caster sugar, but I substituted it with brown sugar, and I think it results in a chewier brownie.
  3. Also, you don't have to brown the butter. Melting it is enough, but I like the nuttiness of browned butter. Because I don't like dairy-tasting food, I think it's genius how browning takes out some of the buttery-milky taste of butter while retaining all the fat required for the recipe.
  4. You can add chopped nuts if you like. And chocolate chunks, though the brownie is rich enough without.
Enjoy making them, share them around, but eat brownies sparely. Overeating is real. Diabetes is real.

London, postscript

0 comments
Alhamdulillah, I've officially been awarded the MA Jewish History by UCL.
It has been a rich, rich year. I am now back in Malaysia, trying to make myself useful.
As much as I love Jewish history and academic life (so far), it still isn't easy to explain my plans for the future to people without including the decades-long back [hi]story of [insert subject of my research proposal].

The plan, in a nutshell, is to start PhD in October 2015, and until then work for experience and money.
Will I get an offer/offers from the unis I applied to? There is no telling. I leave it to Allah.

Anyhow, my year at UCL and in London was well worth the student loan that I have in my name now.

Instead of words, here's a spotty photo-summary of my London experience:
I'll grade each scene/place for regularity of doing/visiting,
on a scale of 1 (only when friends from outside London come and I have to be a tourist guide. And let's face it, during these times I too was a tourist) to 5 (all the time).

 Malet Place, UCL. 
Foster Court (where the Hebrew and Jewish Studies department is) is that building on the right.
How often I go here: 5, especially during the first two terms when I had classes to attend.

 The UCL Main Quad, very prospectus-y.
How often: 5, to access the main library although I can also do that from Malet Place.

 
 Oxford Street from the 390 bus (which I sometimes take to get home from UCL).
How often: not at all, if I can help it. But 3, for the occasional shopping, and because I sometimes ride through it when I don't want to spend the journey home underground.

 That crazy street on crazy sale day--Boxing Day. This was around 7am.

 
The Thames, from one of the bridges.
How often? 1, when Mizah came to visit and Adam took us for a walk around his part of London.

A battleship on the Thames, from a boat.
How often: 1, when Mizah visited.

Thomson Reuters building, Canary Wharf.
That red train is the DLR. Malaysians, that's like the London monorail.
How often: 1. What would we have seen of London without Mizah's visit?!

Somewhere in Shoreditch.
How often: 2. I quite like this area, but it's in the East (our flat was west-ish) and if I didn't have any *reason* to go, I didn't.

The Shoreditch hedgehog.

The very lovely Somerset House courtyard.
How often? 2, although if I knew about this place sooner, it would've been 4.

The set of George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance at the Tabard Theatre.
I've only been to this theatre once, and to three other plays elsewhere, all of them very good.
I've never been to a West End performance, but I probably would prefer the smaller productions.
So, 2.5 for plays.

Hyde Park, winter 2013.
How often: 3.
I mostly come here to think, eat on a bench (and watch people watch me eating on a bench), and watch dogs. If I feel like I need to think in a park that isn't too close to home, I go to Regent's Park.

Canary Wharf is so shiny. The Jubilee line, too.
 How often: 1 (Mizah came).

 All very picturesque, but I also spent a lot of time working on my essays at home:

Watching neighbours' windows.
How often: 5. I mean 5 for being home.

And at the libraries. UCL Main, UCL Science (very rarely, only if I need books from Geography or Anthropology), Senate House, SOAS, the British Library.

Senate House library, History level 4.
How often: 5.

And 3 for grocery shopping, but I have no photo for that.

London Borough Market

3 comments
This morning I went to the Borough Market, which is less than 30 minutes away if I take the Tube from Queensway. The sun was out, the market was fantastic. I made sure to eat well before going, so that I wouldn't be tempted to buy (food) mindlessly at the market.

  Gold here gold there

Pastries and breads

Oysters obviously

"Free taste! Free taste!"

I kid you not
I asked the lady where they got bison meat, but I forgot the place she mentioned.

Looks like a favourite among the suits

"Don't touch the fish," said the fishmonger.
"What?" I said.
"You can't touch the fish."
"Alright, okay." Trying to nudge the mackerel back into place.
"Stop holding the fish. Stop, I'm telling you not to and you're still doing it."
"But I want them!"
"I know. When a fishmonger comes, he'll pick them up for you. You've got to stop picking up the fish."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry, I won't."
That was my first culture shock experience in London.
Don't touch the fish.
 Next time I go to Waitrose, I'm going to touch the fish and see what they say.

Not them. Another guy.
Anyway, very fresh seafood they sell (but probably not as cheap as those you can get at the proper markets like the Billingsgate Fish Market, which I'm not going to unless I feel like taking the bus at 3 am)
The mackerels were £6.90 per kilo. Three biggish ones cost me a bit more than £7.

Bramley apples

I'm sure the fruit stall at the corner of our street at Queensway sells cheaper fruits.

Best-loved citrus for flavouring

Manggis pun ada

 Vietnamese rambutans, "also known as the hairy lychee", at £1.88 per 100g, or £18.80 per kg.

Garlic bulbs

All kinds of sausages and cured meats
He was cutting off morsels for the ladies to sample.  

 
I should learn how to use the manual controls on my camera.

There were a lot more stalls at the market: mushrooms, organic produce, hot food, butcheries, baked goods, cheeses, chocolates and sweets, one or two arts and crafts stalls, more fish, and even a baking school (the Bread Ahead). Unfortunately, my camera (its battery) died halfway through.

My camera dies, the blog post dies.

Random London

0 comments

 Euston Square station, eastward-bound platform, 9:30 am-ish.

Knitted thing on Bayswater Road

Pink bicycle graffiti on someone's garage wall at St Petersburgh Place

Pink

 Black and white

Blue

Browns
The New West End Synagogue

I stare at details

In front of the Russell Square tube station

Kosher sausages at Waitrose, the Brunswick

I read labels

Chorizo but beef

Kosher, halal, but processed meat.

People enjoying the all-day-long light rain in Russell Square

Dog poop bin

I laughed.
At Tiger, Tottenham Court Road.

(Especially) to my Muslim Brothers and Sisters

1 comments
This is my last week of classes as an MA student. Which means that we had very interesting wrapping-up, final session lectures. Yesterday, we listened to a student's presentation on South Beach, Miami in one class (and then ate glazed donuts and fried plantains), and discussed future options for Israel's occupied territories in the other. We had a super short debate about which option would be the best, and our group won and got chocolates (although to be fair, we chose the two-state solution, which is easy to defend when compared to the one state, three-states [Israel, a Hamas Gaza and a Fatah West Bank], unilateral Israeli withdrawal, or Palestinian autonomy [not sovereignty]).

We also learned more about Hamas and their policies and activities in Gaza before and after winning the 2006 elections.

One student seemed to find it particularly hard to fathom how an Islamist political movement could garner so much support from the electorate, especially when the lecturer explained how Palestinians favoured them over Fatah because they were seen as less corrupt and more Islamic. At one point the asked, "So if the women (in Gaza) choose not to wear the veil, will they go to prison or something?"
 
I have never felt it necessary to substantiate the lecturer's answers, which are always spot on, but this time I couldn't help mouthing an incredulous "No" at the student from across the aisle, with an Obama-response-to-nuclear-war face:

 

Judging by the reaction of several other students, I know I was not the only one to be disturbed by his misperception. [He later questioned Hamas's policy on educating girls, he thought they only allow girls to go to school as "tokens". The lecturer put that one straight, and said that Hamas has more women ministers than the secular coalitions, and that they are really, genuinely serious about educating girls.] If Muslim families and societies send their girls to university, it's not because this is a modern, progressive thing to do. It's because Islam puts a lot of emphasis on education for everyone alive. It's also because educating children and developing their potentials are natural and human things to do. 

Why does it have to be about religion versus normality and progress? When I say I am a Muslim, it means that I try my best to live and die a Muslim. It's a state of living.
Looking back, I realise that misunderstandings about The Other is still a major, major obstacle in our interactions with people from different faiths and cultures. In most cases, it's pure ignorance. My class-mate's gross misconceptions about Islamist movements in politics/in power amazed me, but hey at least he asked about it in class. He started out with wrong ideas about a people that he doesn't know, but he's learning to change his mis-perceptions inshaAllah.

Which brings me to a piece of Tariq Ramadan's advice: Muslims, stop living under this victim mentality. "The (Western or secular) world hates us, Islam teaches us peace but people say we're terrorists, the colonial era messed up with the khilafah, etc etc." Look at ourselves, here and now. Learn from history but don't whine about how splendid the Muslim world was in the Middle Ages while losing out on our chance to make a difference. Fact is, weakness invites oppression. Develop your strengths, stop dwelling on how wrong everything else is. This is also a reminder to myself.

Stop the vicious cycle of ignorance-mistreatment-injustice, which is how unfounded misconceptions crystallise into "truths". Why are many Muslims convinced that Jews (question for you, BTW: define Jews) are all plotting to control the world? Why do some people believe that Muslim women wear the hijab because it's what Muslim men tell them to do?

So, public service announcement:

Friends and readers, the more you dislike or mistrust a person or a group, the more you should learn about them -- from their perspective. Put aside your long-held views for once [and I'm not saying this because as a history student, I'm obliged to first, and always, perceive people and events from the worldview of the individuals involved before my observer "judgments" chip in in the narrative] because every human being deserves to be understood, even if not accepted. And if you are a Muslim, remember that the Prophet SAW was sent as a rahmah for the entire universe, including the human beings you see as "enemies of Islam" -- take the effort to understand them, lest any of your hate or mistrust was based on unjust prejudices, lies, or fitnah. You hate being misunderstood? So does everyone else.

Up and down the food chain

0 comments
The Oriental Supermarket in Bayswater is where we buy "oriental" foodstuffs. Daun limau purut (frozen), serai, sawi, lengkuas, bihun, tempe (frozen) and if we want, kelapa parut (preserved and frozen, ick), whole fish and seafood (frozen with some preservatives too, ick), dan sebagainya.

We dropped by there Saturday afternoon. I took pictures.

One crab left

One packet left of frog legs.
I wonder if these were wild frogs or farm-bred ones, if frog farms exist?

£2 can get you one baby chicken at Al-Farawlah (another grocery store)

 Whole frozen durians.

Now I need to do some serious laptop research for an essay about Tel Aviv (I don't even know yet which aspects of it I'm going to write about!). Also, I found the notes I wrote during last week's Occupied Territories class. I wrote "camel training", which means that trying to form a coalition in the Knesset is like camel training. I just thought that you'd be interested to know that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Brownies recipe

When I and 11 of my best friends (and two babies) met for a sleepover a couple of weeks back, we mostly did three things: talk, cook, and eat. We made some brownies for dessert, but most of my crazy friends were busy talking themselves hoarse when I was mixing it up, (and there wasn't space for all of us in the kitchen), so after we all went home, some of them asked me to put together a video tutorial.

Here it is:


Make These Brownies Now from Nabeelah on Vimeo.

Recipe notes:
  1. This recipe is for a half-batch. I used a 7-inch square pan to bake it in.
  2. The original recipe calls for (white) caster sugar, but I substituted it with brown sugar, and I think it results in a chewier brownie.
  3. Also, you don't have to brown the butter. Melting it is enough, but I like the nuttiness of browned butter. Because I don't like dairy-tasting food, I think it's genius how browning takes out some of the buttery-milky taste of butter while retaining all the fat required for the recipe.
  4. You can add chopped nuts if you like. And chocolate chunks, though the brownie is rich enough without.
Enjoy making them, share them around, but eat brownies sparely. Overeating is real. Diabetes is real.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

London, postscript

Alhamdulillah, I've officially been awarded the MA Jewish History by UCL.
It has been a rich, rich year. I am now back in Malaysia, trying to make myself useful.
As much as I love Jewish history and academic life (so far), it still isn't easy to explain my plans for the future to people without including the decades-long back [hi]story of [insert subject of my research proposal].

The plan, in a nutshell, is to start PhD in October 2015, and until then work for experience and money.
Will I get an offer/offers from the unis I applied to? There is no telling. I leave it to Allah.

Anyhow, my year at UCL and in London was well worth the student loan that I have in my name now.

Instead of words, here's a spotty photo-summary of my London experience:
I'll grade each scene/place for regularity of doing/visiting,
on a scale of 1 (only when friends from outside London come and I have to be a tourist guide. And let's face it, during these times I too was a tourist) to 5 (all the time).

 Malet Place, UCL. 
Foster Court (where the Hebrew and Jewish Studies department is) is that building on the right.
How often I go here: 5, especially during the first two terms when I had classes to attend.

 The UCL Main Quad, very prospectus-y.
How often: 5, to access the main library although I can also do that from Malet Place.

 
 Oxford Street from the 390 bus (which I sometimes take to get home from UCL).
How often: not at all, if I can help it. But 3, for the occasional shopping, and because I sometimes ride through it when I don't want to spend the journey home underground.

 That crazy street on crazy sale day--Boxing Day. This was around 7am.

 
The Thames, from one of the bridges.
How often? 1, when Mizah came to visit and Adam took us for a walk around his part of London.

A battleship on the Thames, from a boat.
How often: 1, when Mizah visited.

Thomson Reuters building, Canary Wharf.
That red train is the DLR. Malaysians, that's like the London monorail.
How often: 1. What would we have seen of London without Mizah's visit?!

Somewhere in Shoreditch.
How often: 2. I quite like this area, but it's in the East (our flat was west-ish) and if I didn't have any *reason* to go, I didn't.

The Shoreditch hedgehog.

The very lovely Somerset House courtyard.
How often? 2, although if I knew about this place sooner, it would've been 4.

The set of George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance at the Tabard Theatre.
I've only been to this theatre once, and to three other plays elsewhere, all of them very good.
I've never been to a West End performance, but I probably would prefer the smaller productions.
So, 2.5 for plays.

Hyde Park, winter 2013.
How often: 3.
I mostly come here to think, eat on a bench (and watch people watch me eating on a bench), and watch dogs. If I feel like I need to think in a park that isn't too close to home, I go to Regent's Park.

Canary Wharf is so shiny. The Jubilee line, too.
 How often: 1 (Mizah came).

 All very picturesque, but I also spent a lot of time working on my essays at home:

Watching neighbours' windows.
How often: 5. I mean 5 for being home.

And at the libraries. UCL Main, UCL Science (very rarely, only if I need books from Geography or Anthropology), Senate House, SOAS, the British Library.

Senate House library, History level 4.
How often: 5.

And 3 for grocery shopping, but I have no photo for that.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

London Borough Market

This morning I went to the Borough Market, which is less than 30 minutes away if I take the Tube from Queensway. The sun was out, the market was fantastic. I made sure to eat well before going, so that I wouldn't be tempted to buy (food) mindlessly at the market.

  Gold here gold there

Pastries and breads

Oysters obviously

"Free taste! Free taste!"

I kid you not
I asked the lady where they got bison meat, but I forgot the place she mentioned.

Looks like a favourite among the suits

"Don't touch the fish," said the fishmonger.
"What?" I said.
"You can't touch the fish."
"Alright, okay." Trying to nudge the mackerel back into place.
"Stop holding the fish. Stop, I'm telling you not to and you're still doing it."
"But I want them!"
"I know. When a fishmonger comes, he'll pick them up for you. You've got to stop picking up the fish."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry, I won't."
That was my first culture shock experience in London.
Don't touch the fish.
 Next time I go to Waitrose, I'm going to touch the fish and see what they say.

Not them. Another guy.
Anyway, very fresh seafood they sell (but probably not as cheap as those you can get at the proper markets like the Billingsgate Fish Market, which I'm not going to unless I feel like taking the bus at 3 am)
The mackerels were £6.90 per kilo. Three biggish ones cost me a bit more than £7.

Bramley apples

I'm sure the fruit stall at the corner of our street at Queensway sells cheaper fruits.

Best-loved citrus for flavouring

Manggis pun ada

 Vietnamese rambutans, "also known as the hairy lychee", at £1.88 per 100g, or £18.80 per kg.

Garlic bulbs

All kinds of sausages and cured meats
He was cutting off morsels for the ladies to sample.  

 
I should learn how to use the manual controls on my camera.

There were a lot more stalls at the market: mushrooms, organic produce, hot food, butcheries, baked goods, cheeses, chocolates and sweets, one or two arts and crafts stalls, more fish, and even a baking school (the Bread Ahead). Unfortunately, my camera (its battery) died halfway through.

My camera dies, the blog post dies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Random London


 Euston Square station, eastward-bound platform, 9:30 am-ish.

Knitted thing on Bayswater Road

Pink bicycle graffiti on someone's garage wall at St Petersburgh Place

Pink

 Black and white

Blue

Browns
The New West End Synagogue

I stare at details

In front of the Russell Square tube station

Kosher sausages at Waitrose, the Brunswick

I read labels

Chorizo but beef

Kosher, halal, but processed meat.

People enjoying the all-day-long light rain in Russell Square

Dog poop bin

I laughed.
At Tiger, Tottenham Court Road.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

(Especially) to my Muslim Brothers and Sisters

This is my last week of classes as an MA student. Which means that we had very interesting wrapping-up, final session lectures. Yesterday, we listened to a student's presentation on South Beach, Miami in one class (and then ate glazed donuts and fried plantains), and discussed future options for Israel's occupied territories in the other. We had a super short debate about which option would be the best, and our group won and got chocolates (although to be fair, we chose the two-state solution, which is easy to defend when compared to the one state, three-states [Israel, a Hamas Gaza and a Fatah West Bank], unilateral Israeli withdrawal, or Palestinian autonomy [not sovereignty]).

We also learned more about Hamas and their policies and activities in Gaza before and after winning the 2006 elections.

One student seemed to find it particularly hard to fathom how an Islamist political movement could garner so much support from the electorate, especially when the lecturer explained how Palestinians favoured them over Fatah because they were seen as less corrupt and more Islamic. At one point the asked, "So if the women (in Gaza) choose not to wear the veil, will they go to prison or something?"
 
I have never felt it necessary to substantiate the lecturer's answers, which are always spot on, but this time I couldn't help mouthing an incredulous "No" at the student from across the aisle, with an Obama-response-to-nuclear-war face:

 

Judging by the reaction of several other students, I know I was not the only one to be disturbed by his misperception. [He later questioned Hamas's policy on educating girls, he thought they only allow girls to go to school as "tokens". The lecturer put that one straight, and said that Hamas has more women ministers than the secular coalitions, and that they are really, genuinely serious about educating girls.] If Muslim families and societies send their girls to university, it's not because this is a modern, progressive thing to do. It's because Islam puts a lot of emphasis on education for everyone alive. It's also because educating children and developing their potentials are natural and human things to do. 

Why does it have to be about religion versus normality and progress? When I say I am a Muslim, it means that I try my best to live and die a Muslim. It's a state of living.
Looking back, I realise that misunderstandings about The Other is still a major, major obstacle in our interactions with people from different faiths and cultures. In most cases, it's pure ignorance. My class-mate's gross misconceptions about Islamist movements in politics/in power amazed me, but hey at least he asked about it in class. He started out with wrong ideas about a people that he doesn't know, but he's learning to change his mis-perceptions inshaAllah.

Which brings me to a piece of Tariq Ramadan's advice: Muslims, stop living under this victim mentality. "The (Western or secular) world hates us, Islam teaches us peace but people say we're terrorists, the colonial era messed up with the khilafah, etc etc." Look at ourselves, here and now. Learn from history but don't whine about how splendid the Muslim world was in the Middle Ages while losing out on our chance to make a difference. Fact is, weakness invites oppression. Develop your strengths, stop dwelling on how wrong everything else is. This is also a reminder to myself.

Stop the vicious cycle of ignorance-mistreatment-injustice, which is how unfounded misconceptions crystallise into "truths". Why are many Muslims convinced that Jews (question for you, BTW: define Jews) are all plotting to control the world? Why do some people believe that Muslim women wear the hijab because it's what Muslim men tell them to do?

So, public service announcement:

Friends and readers, the more you dislike or mistrust a person or a group, the more you should learn about them -- from their perspective. Put aside your long-held views for once [and I'm not saying this because as a history student, I'm obliged to first, and always, perceive people and events from the worldview of the individuals involved before my observer "judgments" chip in in the narrative] because every human being deserves to be understood, even if not accepted. And if you are a Muslim, remember that the Prophet SAW was sent as a rahmah for the entire universe, including the human beings you see as "enemies of Islam" -- take the effort to understand them, lest any of your hate or mistrust was based on unjust prejudices, lies, or fitnah. You hate being misunderstood? So does everyone else.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Up and down the food chain

The Oriental Supermarket in Bayswater is where we buy "oriental" foodstuffs. Daun limau purut (frozen), serai, sawi, lengkuas, bihun, tempe (frozen) and if we want, kelapa parut (preserved and frozen, ick), whole fish and seafood (frozen with some preservatives too, ick), dan sebagainya.

We dropped by there Saturday afternoon. I took pictures.

One crab left

One packet left of frog legs.
I wonder if these were wild frogs or farm-bred ones, if frog farms exist?

£2 can get you one baby chicken at Al-Farawlah (another grocery store)

 Whole frozen durians.

Now I need to do some serious laptop research for an essay about Tel Aviv (I don't even know yet which aspects of it I'm going to write about!). Also, I found the notes I wrote during last week's Occupied Territories class. I wrote "camel training", which means that trying to form a coalition in the Knesset is like camel training. I just thought that you'd be interested to know that.