Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Homemade BANANA Muffin - no mixer required

Makes 12
  • 1 Large ripe banana
  • 1 cup / 250ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 60gr butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups (approx 180gr) self raising fluor (can be substitute with plain Fluor + 1 teaspoon baking powder)
  • 1/2 cup (approx 120gr) caster sugar
  1. In a mixin bowl, mash the banana, add the milk, egg and melted butter. Mix well.
  2. Stir the fluor and sugar into the banana mixture, mix only until the ingredients are combined. Don't overdo it.
  3. Spoon mixture into well-greased muffin tins. Bake at 190C for around 20 minutes
  4. Serve warm or cold

Strawberry Jam Cookies

Makes 30
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 egg yolk, to spread over cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 jar strawberry jam , or as needed
  1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix in the whole egg and the egg yolk. Add the vanilla, lemon rind and salt. Stir to mix well.
  3. Add the fluor and stir to blend. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. On a fluored surface, roll out the dough about 1/2cm thick.
  5. Stamp out shapes or rounds with cookie cutters.
  6. Spooned 1/4 teaspoon of Strawberry jam on the middle of cookie, spread bit of egg yolk (it makes cookies golden brown when baked)
  7. Baked until lightly colored, about 5-8 minutes. Trasfer to a rack and let cool completely before place on the jar.

Strawberry jam can be substitute with any jam as desire.

Don't left your oven when baking, as oven have various heat which give different time of baking, so your cookies doesn't burn.

Happy cookies :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Beef Casserole

Serves 4
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
0.5kg chuck steak, diced into 3cm pieces
1 swedes, peeled, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 stick celery, trimmed, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and beef. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 2.5 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 30minutes or until beef is tender.
  3. Add swedes, carrot, celery, thyme and 1 cup of cold water. Cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve

You can substitude swede with potato or pumpkin

(Recipe modified from Winter Beef Casserole courtesy of Super Food Ideas magazine)


I need to do something. Something to release my stress and the entire headache, after morning chaos –as usual- when I had to prepare my son for school. With his full capability to said no for every-single-task I asked him to do, said ok but he not even move one inch, running around while ate his brekkie and left his cheese croissant scattered all over lounge room, I have strong reason to spoil myself.

At the beginning, I was thinking about Day Spa. And crossed that idea before I even decide which Spa I can pay a visit. There is no point going to the Spa for relaxation and had my daughter crawling around me when the therapist doing my back or my arms. Not relax at all. I felt tired already, just imagining it. (And I don’t think the Spa will allow me to bring my daughter for a session) So, just forget it.

Second though, I was thinking about retail therapy. Sounds good. And with the fact I need pair of stiletto and clutch bag for wedding next month, it is an excuse to spending money.

Before I went out for my place, third idea came flowing.
How about try my luck with David Beckham.Sounds good, huh? The boy is in town, will be great if I can get chance to see him, not on TV or mags, but in real life. The real Beckham.

The idea came from the media. David Beckham landed in Sydney last Sunday, and will do a match with Sydney FC. So, he was constantly on papers and TV’s every 5 second. Including details on what and when off him.
I tried to get some inside info from my friend’s sister who works in Media & Entertainment business, and happily spare me with all of the details.
So, why not try my luck?

One hour forward, here I am, in so called Sydney Harbour, try to sneak to the area where Meet & Greet will be held. From info that I got, he will meet with couples of Aussi footballer (a.k.a AFL or Rugby League blokes) and some fans –and the media, of course- before heading for a cruise.

I knew it will be hard to get in, to sneak in, and who will believe me if I told the guards that I am a writer from media (called blogs J). Or even if I drag my friend’s sister, I am sure guards still won’t allow me to come inside the area. The main reason? I pushed my daughter pram. Who on earth a professional journalist or writer or media reps or whatever bring her baby to an event?
(Only exist in the movie, Jersey Girl starring Ben Affleck, right?)

In front of me, what I saw are hundreds of people from sponsor-company, sports league, and media with their tele cameras. Not to mention the fans. Soooo many of them wore Beck jersey.
And wooo hoo…..
I saw crowd turned their heads and attention to one spot. No, not Beckham, but Posh! I heard thousand of shutters from their cameras, and at the end, it wasn’t Posh at all. Just her cameo. Funny!

With no luck, I changed my plan. Retail Therapy seems much much better and suits me now. Better than Beckham Therapy, for now. He is handsome. He is hot. But, Oroton sale suddenly hotter for me.

(PS 1:
If you asked me, I am not a biggest fan of David Beckham. For me, he is handsome and cool –and hot? - when he on the field or when he keep his mouth shut. Once he starts talking, his voice –sorry Beck- sounds funny for me. )

(PS 2:
Another thing he will do in Sydney is to launch his Perfume on Myer this Wednesday. I still on high hope that I can get the seat for Meet&Greet from my friend’s sister. Finger cross. Let see.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Miss Noisy

My husband had to fly to Indonesia for one week. The previous experience –when he had something to do in Indonesia for one week on last August- proved that we’re doing just fine. Everything was under control. That is why I am so confident that I will be able to take care of these two little children. We’ll survive, that’s what I’m saying to him, when we all marched to the Airport to say goodbye.

It was last Friday. We did fine. Went home from Airport. And the fact that I got extra hand from my girlfriend that day, everything running smoothly.

The first and second day without him, was also fine. Thanks –again- to my girlfriend who spared me some room with her taking care of my son while we’re out to shopping. And my son was into her. He asked her to stay and spend the weekend with us (which I know it’s too much for her. After 2 days of shopping with children –especially not their own children- everybody wants a break.

Third day was yesterday. Monday. Busy morning as usual, but I magically managed everything. My son was ready by 9 before his friend and his friend’s mum came to pick him up and drop them to school. My daughter was happy, and tired after played whole morning with her brother. It left me with half an hour -not enough though to have a real break- but I’m okay with that.

Fourth day, here comes the morning chaos. I did not expect this to be happening. Since I don’t feel sleeping in my own bed by myself, I asked my son to move to my bedroom. So, three of us together in my bedroom, with my daughter slept in her cot. If I was sensitive, the sign of early chaos I’ve should notice last night. My daughter was cranky. She won’t sleep on her cot. She wants to join me and her brother on the big bed. I let her joined just to drive my son cranky. She couldn’t stop moving, and this 7 months baby cheekily tickles her big brother legs. He was very tired after school, and felt disturbed, so he asked her to stop. She didn’t care and kept doing it. I tried to calm her, sang a song or read a book, just doesn’t worked. When I decided that I had enough of her cheekiness, I put her back to her cot. And she cried out loud. My son wrapped his ears with pillow. She didn’t stop until she was tired crying.
And this morning, 5.30am, she woke up, and starts to cried. I looked up and checked, nothing happened. Nappy still ok, she just finished her bottle. And I can’t see tears on her eyes. Real drama queen. I back to my bed try to catch another hour, and once I snuggled inside my blanket, she started to cry again.
Next minute, my son woke up. He pointed to his sister, and asked her to quiet. She ignored him. Before I understand what happen, these two was into constant conversation only them understood what it’s all about. And ended with my son screamed: you little Miss Noisy!
She suddenly silent. And sobbing. With eyes full of tears. I asked my son, what he been saying to his sister, he said: I asked her to quiet. I’m still sleepy. She said she doesn’t want to be quiet. That is why I called her Little Miss Noisy.

I looked at her. She still sobbing, and presumably understood what her brother just said. I hug her, tried to calm her. Once she out from her cot, she just stop sobbing, and smile again. Very cheeky. Nobody back to sleep. Still around 6am, but just can’t back to sleep, and I hate to admitted that I’m become morning person today.

And the noises never stop. She kept make noise when she can’t see me around –excuse me, mom have to go to toilet, too- or when I asked her not to do something dangerous, like trying to climb TV Table –she not even stand up strongly yet-.

Let see what will be happen tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kurir: Dijamin Sampai dengan Selamat

Sudah jamak di kalangan perantau asal Indonesia di luar negeri, terutama pelajar, untuk menjadi kurir bagi yang lain setiap pulang ke Indonesia. Tugas kurir semakin berat jika pulang ke Indonesia bukan karena selesai sekolah, tetapi untuk menengok keluarga atau mencari materi penelitian. Itu berarti sang kurir akan mendapat titipan dari kedua belah pihak, baik dari yang sedang sekolah, maupun keluarga di tanah air, yang ingin mengirimkan sesuatu kepada yang jauh di negeri seberang.Bang Yos -yang nggak ada hubungan sama sekali dengan Sutiyoso mantan Gubernur DKI- adalah salah satu dari sekian banyak kurir yang kami kenal di sini. Kebetulan (atau sialnya) Bang Yos kuliah selama empat tahun di Australia. Setiap tahun adaaaa saja yang mengharuskan dia mondar-mandir ke Indonesia.Kalau bukan urusan mencari data penelitian, ada saja masalah keluarga yang harus diselesaikan dengan terbang ke Indonesia. Kerepotan Bang Yos adalah 'berkah' untuk pelajar yang lain. Daripada kirim barang lewat pos, sudah mahal, waktu sampainya bisa lama pula, lebih baik lewat Bang Yos. Dijamin sampai, biaya kirim bisa diatur pakai dolar atau rupiah nggak masalah. Dan Bang Yos sendiri urang awak yang suka nggak enak hati menolak titipan.
Keterkenalan Bang Yos nggak hanya di kalangan pelajar yang satu angkatan atau angkatan di bawahnya, tetapi menyebar pula sampai kalangan junior yang tiga tahun di bawahnya. Bahkan sampai yang beda universitas. Pernah seorang student memohon-mohon Bang Yos untuk bersedia mengangkut titipannya yang nggak kira-kira banyaknya. Hampir sekoper kecil ukuran dua kali kardus Indomie. Bang Yos cuma garuk-garuk kepala. Bingung, mau nolak nggak enak, mau diterima kok banyak. Akhirnya dia mencoba mencari alasan kalau jatah bagasinya pas-pasan. Eh, si anak memaksa dengan risiko dia yang bayar biaya kelebihan bagasi kalau Bang Yos kena denda. Dia bahkan memaksa Bang Yos naik taksi ke bandara, daripada naik bus seperti biasanya. Dia menanggung biaya taksi. Bang Yos nggak bisa berkutik. Tetapi bukan Bang Yos namanya kalau nggak bisa melihat sisi baik dari setiap peristiwa. Kapan lagi ke bandara naik taksi, santai, dibayari pula.
Lain lagi ceritanya ketika Bang Yos dimintai tolong orang tua Yuli. Detik terakhir Bang Yos akan kembali ke Sydney, mereka datang ke rumah Bang Yos di Padang sambil membawa tas plastik besar berisi kerupuk kulit khas Padang. Katanya itu makanan favorit Yuli. Bang Yos bingung bukan kepalang. Kali ini bukan masalah bagasi, tetapi membawa makanan masuk ke Australia, apalagi dengan kemasan sederhana sama saja bunuh diri. Bang Yos berusaha menjelaskan mengenai ketatnya peraturan pemerintah Australia mengenai makanan yang boleh masuk, namun mereka tetap memohon. Akhirnya Bang Yos mengiyakan, namun kerupuknya nggak dibawa. Begitu mendarat di Sydney, dia mampir dulu ke restoran Padang di dekat kawasan kami tinggal, beli kerupuk pengganti. Beres. Yuli sampai geleng-geleng kepala mendengar cerita Bang Yos. "Aku nggak tega Yul. Orang tua kamu sudah begitu mikirin kamu, sampai ke kerupuk segala, makanya bagaimanapun kamu harus terima kerupuknya."
Suatu kali, si abang tiba-tiba bikin pengumuman mendadak di milis kami. "Dua hari lagi saya mau pulang Indonesia selama dua minggu. Urusan keluarga mendadak, jadi kalau mau nitip, kali ini saya terima titipan surat saja, bukan barang." Teman kami Irina dan Dewi yang tinggal serumah di gedung sebelah, langsung menelepon Bang Yos, untuk daftar. Sampai pada waktunya, semua lancar. Surat sudah diserahkan ke Bang Yos, beserta biaya kirim dari Padang ke Jakarta dan Surabaya. Seminggu kemudian terjadi kehebohan. Ternyata, saat membungkus ulang surat itu untuk dikirim ke Surabaya dan Jakarta, Bang Yos keliru mengirimkan. Surat dari Dewi dikirim ke suami Irina. Dan surat dari Irina terkirim ke pacar Dewi. Celakanya, Dewi paling rajin mengirim surat dengan puisi yang melankolis untuk pacarnya. Lebih seru lagi ternyata Irina mengirim beberapa foto diri yang cukup syur untuk suaminya sebagai pengobat rindu selama jauh berpisah dengan sang istri.
Kalau sudah begini apa Bang Yos bisa disalahkan?
Dimuat di Harian Surya-Surabaya , Kamis 8 Nov 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sculpture by the Sea 2006

Rama & his dad on Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sculpture by the Sea last year. Zaafri did great with his photo became finalist for the photo competition, after mine scored on previous year. (http://www.sculpturebythesea.com/html/kodak_archive/2005/Kodak_101105.htm)Though he did not win, it was our best performance for the last three years.
It is a shame we're very busy this time, haven't got chance to get another shoot on our last Sculpture by the Sea -which end today-. When I got time to do it without Z, I change my mind. For the sake of my back and arms, I did not feeling walks through this coastal walk with baby Ramya on her stroller. Too much.

Are these lovely houses does exist?

I haven’t been cleaning up my house since like the last 10 days. My husband did vacuuming though – which is helped- . Not because we’re too lazy –even though we always do big chores like vacuuming only on weekend- but we’ve been very busy lately. So, I tried to do just bit of cleaning this morning, and it’s seems I’ve done nothing –comparing between what left to do with things that has been done-. Still got everything everywhere.

Our apartment is quite moderate. Not too small, not too big, with 2 bedrooms we kind of get the best for it’s price performance. Since the arrival of the newest family member, it does feel bit small for four of us. I started to feel that once we pick something from some place it’s never came back to its place supposed to be.

I am a keen interior designer, and now I start to question my faith about all the lovely pictures of home interior on the magazines. Are there really people who can keep their house look as good as it in the picture without sacrificing?

As I know the answer myself, that there are NEVER a place or a house will always looks neat and clean and tidy all the time –especially if you have a child, or two, or three-. But it is still annoy me. I decided to find the answer from couple of friend’s works in the same field as me.

Friend 1; one kid :
Same as me. Everything everywhere

Friend 2; three kids :
At least same as me, worst most of the time

Friend 3; two kids, one husband who never helps with house-chores:
Find that house on the magazines are just on her dream; vanished in one snap once she wake up in her real life, in her own bedroom with dirty laundries on the corner of her bedroom.

I have come to conclusion about it. With my effort to survey (ok, only 3 friends which you might say cannot represent what the public might say, at least they are interior designer), it is very hard to keep our house neat and tidy and clean. I’m quite sure, if I surveys more moms, the will answer the same.

So if we can’t keep our place clean and neat and tidy, why we would’ve always bought the magazines about interior? Are we just trying to make ourselves feeling good when we starring at all of the pictures of beautiful houses, lovely rooms, because we couldn’t create one in our own house? And file them for inspiration in the future –just in case we have time to do room makeover-?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Runaway PAPER

I woke up with horror. 13 of November. Time flies. And today is the last day to return my application for her Daycare next year. And I haven’t done it yet. After morning ritual –bath the kids, breakfast, scrapping out all dishes- I was frantically looking for the document. I looked up on my document keeper. None! Okay…hold on, it might just slip on my bedside drawers. I read it few nights ago. After pile of papers, no sight of this very important document. I tried to get some help from my husband. I know he was busy –he always busy; and lately he just very very busy. Did I exaggerated?-. “You might put them on your file folder” he said with eyes still on the computer, trying to sort of his gigantic data for his research. I looked into my file folder. Unloaded it. Searched one by one. Still nothing!

Next minute, I heard very familiar sound. My daughter tearing off the papers that I stacked next to me, on the carpet. I was to busy I was not even hear she was coming, crawling so fast, and sat behind me, on the top of all these papers.

“No…no…no…no….ooooh…you are so not doing it,” I tried to hijacked the paper from her tiny hands, she fought, and she happened to plough small piece into her mouth. Great!

I started to feel desperate. Almost midday, no progress, my daughter ripped and ate a quarter of phone bill (Thank God, it’s been paid) –and managed to spitted it out on the carpet; another works to do-. And to added more nausea, I found another pile of treasures, letters that needs prompt action –which supposed to action weeks ago-.

Poor Ayu. I started to pity myself. The funniest thing was: I did some course on how to manage bills and paperwork, how to sort them and how to do everything in order. I even bought myself a book about organizing your junk –papers and bills- and get it done. They said it’s easy. I just need to discipline and do it regularly (Of course you would say it is easy when you want to sell your book or your course, wouldn’t you?). No hints or tricks works. It’s all disappearing into the thin air.

Since I have nobody to blame but myself (I responsible for all of the bills and paperwork from our children’s school), I stupidly came up with the idea to ring the Daycare, asking for another piece of application form, pretending that we haven’t got the paper. Some angels on my mind try to remind me that this trick won’t work because the Daycare’s admin could ask me about me knowing that today is the last day while I haven’t got the application before. The others keep telling me –I think these not the angels, must be the devils of my mind- that this is the only way I can get the form, and not loosing the daycare seat that I fought since I was three months pregnant.

And the devils won. I grabbed my phone; take a deep breath, dialing the Daycare numbers, and sit down patiently on the sofa, waiting someone on the other side to pick up the line. When someone pick up the line, in the same second I saw very familiar document lay behind our TV – on the TV bench-. THE DOCUMENT. The application form that makes me sacrifices my whole morning after it.

I quickly hang up before I get into trouble. Before I have to say ‘hallo’. Not a good manner though, but I don’t think they would know me if they did not speak to me. If they had caller ID tracker, I could be in to trouble. But, let just assume they don’t have it. And the most important thing: I found it. Maybe, I meant to ring them to find this document. Everything always happen for a reason, doesn’t it?


Salah satu jalan untuk mencari tahu seberapa banyak kita bisa menyisihkan uang, baik setiap bulan maupun dalam jangka satu tahun atau lebih, adalah dengan membuat perencanaan anggaran keluarga.
Berikut ini adalah budget planner aka rencana anggaran (courtesy of Commonwealth Bank of Australia) yang memuat item-item dalam perencanaan anggaran, yang mungkin bisa membantu dalam perhitungan anggaran bulanan maupun tahunan.Dengan meletakkan kolom bulanan dan tahunan disamping item-item tersebut, budget planner ini sangat mudah digunakan.Atau silahkan copy-paste yang ada dibawah, yang sudah disesuaikan dengan kondisi di Indonesia.Please feel free to copy and use it.
Mudah-mudahan berguna.


PEMASUKAN (Bulanan) (Tahunan)

Pendapatan bersih/Gaji (setelah potong pajak)
Bonus (setelah potong pajak)
Penghasilan dari investasi
Bunga bank

PENGELUARAN (Bulanan) (Tahunan)

I.Pengeluaran RUMAH TANGGA

Sewa rumah/cicilan rumah
Biaya lingkungan (keamanan,sampah,dll)
Asuransi rumah,mobil,dll
Telepon (rumah)
Telepon (HP)
Internet service
Jasa penitipan anak/babysitter/PRT
Uang Sekolah
Kebutuhan sekolah anak
Kebutuhan transportasi (bensin,tiket bis,dll)
Pembayaran kredit kendaraan bermotor
Pajak kendaraan bermotor
Asuransi mobil/kendaraan bermotor
Biaya servis rutin kendaraan bermotor
Biaya cadangan untuk kendaraan bermotor


Belanja bulanan rumah tangga&dapur
Biaya kesehatan (dokter,dokter gigi,dll)
Asuransi kesehatan
Hiburan (tiket bioskop,sewa/beli DVD,buku,dll)
Iuran keanggotaan klub(Gym,arisan,dll)
Tabungan (yg sdh&akan disisihkan)
Investasi lain-lain (yang sdh rutin disisihkan)


TOTAL PEMASUKAN - TOTAL PENGELUARAN = Uang tambahan yang bisa disisihkan

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Let me introduce you to Gabby…

I met this girl about 3 weeks ago, while I accompany my family shopping around when they visited us. Her name is Gabby. And it’s purely coincidence that she happen to be there to help me out with my dad’s Tourist Refund Scheme aka TRS-thing, after more than half an hour of hell dealt with bunch of arrogant Salespersons (plus one manager) from Sydney Opera House Gift Shop.

Ok, this is what happened. My mum & dad spend quite a lot in SOH gift shop. As a tourist, they had their right to claim the GST back from every dollar they spent here, when they fly back to Indonesia. As required by Australia Government –Australia Custom- for transaction over $1,000; the seller had to provide details of the customer –as appears in passport or other documents- in the Tax Invoice or receipts. Either printed or written on it.
Since they spend more than $1,000 for heaps of things at SOH gift shop, I asked the salesperson to write my brother name on Tax Invoice slash receipt so he can claim for my Dad. They refused it. And we came into argument about this matter, about the rule of TRS, and the staffs insisted that it’s not necessary to have the name written on.

I tried to explain –based on my husband experienced last time he flew overseas- that over $1,000 we need to have our detail on docket (with this fact, we got no problem at all when we contacted Oroton Head Office to help us with this process when Custom officer requested my husband details on the docket). The staffs dragged their manager out, and things even getting worse. He spoke to us as we did not understand at all about TRS or Taxation System in Australia. He just underestimated us. Tired of arguing, and felt sick of his arrogant manner, we walked out from the SOH Gift Shop. The place that acclaimed their self as World Class Tourism Destination, treated customer that spend their money there as an idiot. This wasn’t the service I expected from this place so called Sydney Opera House. So disappointing.

And we walked to the shop next to it. Purely Australian Clothing Co. There we met Gabby. I can’t remember how it’s started, we just fell into conversation about TRS, the she handed me TRS Official booklet (she said, she always keep some copies –even in various language including Bahasa Indonesia- ) which gave me power to ran back to SOH Gift Shop and feel like give the manager a punched on his face.

(Again, it took us another half an hour to get Tax Invoice with my brother name written on it, and he stupidly rang Custom Office which number stated on the booklet, to make sure that he obliged to do that. And –of course- because he so arrogant, he still blaming on the custom officer he just had conversation with –poor officer- that this officer cannot explained to him what the reason behind putting customer name on docket. What a silly thing. If it’s stated officially on the booklet, it must be compulsory. End of message. Full stop. Tried to save his face from humiliating moment he created himself.)

Anyway, this girl really brightens our day. She is real Salesperson. Genuine. She gave us information with nothing in return. When I thank her for her act, she only said that she hate if she saw tourist being treated unfair and being given misleading or wrong information. She just doesn’t feel right to hear our story about this TRS.
So, if I may, I introduce you to Gabby. Find her on her shop, Purely Australian Clothing Co on Lower Concourse of Sydney Opera House. And I am happy to spread the words about her warmth service to the world. And if you happen to meet her, please send my hug for her.
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