Sunday, 26 September 2010

Relocation and all it's hellish accompaniments.

This post marks the dying days of the longest, laziest holiday I've ever had, and probably ever will have. I am suitably mood-swing-y to fit the occasion.

So before rushing into talking about uni, I should make a record on my blog of "the event" which took place last week. It transpired as follows:
21:00: I am sat on bed, and room is dark, and I realise I cannot see and should probably turn a light on.

21:01: Illogically, I draw the blinds, sending the room into pitch darkness, before stepping down off the bed to go and switch the light on.

21:01 On stepping down off the bed, I experience the strange and not entirely pleasant sensation of stepping on an upturned plug, far too forcefully.

21:02  Remaining silent, whilst screaming very short words in my head, I limp over to the light , switch it on, and find that there is not only a hole in my sock, but a fairly deep hole in the bottom of my foot as well. Hop back over to the bed and sit down, by which time my foot has realised that it should be bleeding, and begins to do so with great enthusiasm.

21:07: Still sat on the bed, wondering how the hell to attract any attention, since everyone is busy, and if I try to walk I will make the laminate look like a massacre. At this point I become quite giddy (I do start laughing in a nervous, hyper manner if something's very painful) and am doing the Michael Macintyre shit-non-laugh, at the strangeness of the situation.

21:10: Hop in a bloodied manner over to parents' room, where mum proceeds to make horrified noises and announces that she cannot look, whilst dad tries to clean up the cut with a wet tissue, which stings like hell and makes me start crazy-laughing again. He then attaches the biggest dressing possible and tells me to go sit down and avoid plugs.

Friday --------->Tuesday: I remain housebound, literally sat on my bed for hours and hours and hours, unable to put any kind of weight on my foot. Hop downstairs occasionally for food, but otherwise remain sat, watching The Office and Community, without which I would have gone mad. Bless them.

Now: Have been able to walk with a slight limp since Tuesday, though it's still very obviously going to scar and hasn't healed yet. Still, I've never really been injured, so thought I'd milk the hell out of the one time I did :D Good, if not painful, stuff.

Now onto university packing, which I was not able to proceed with until I regained the ability to walk:
It basically boils down to me packing my whole life into one large purple suitcase, another very large black sports bag, and several of those bags-for-life from various supermarkets. This took hours, since I spent too much time procrastinating and just moving stuff from one bag into another. My room was depressingly bare by yesterday.

Yesterday then involved moving all said stuff into the house I shall be living in, which is very nice and small and cosy and, thank God, clean and spider free (touchwood). So I have now made my new room all homely, yay. And tomorrow I'm going for good :| Well, as long as I can stand it. So that will be fun... briefly solo living and all that. And cooking. Woo.

Yes, I'm having regular changes of mood between godawful dread, and a sort of nervous okay-ness. If I didn't have to encounter any people, it'd be fine. Gawd. Several months of absolute shunning the world has made me even worse with social skills, so talk about being chucked in at the deep end :| Ouch.

I will of course blog again once I have destroyed the kitchen due to my failed attempts at cooking. Woo. So standby for that (Y).
And now I must proceed with my mental farewell to my chav hometown, in all her shit glory. *SIGH*
Over and out!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Over six weeks, more cough medicine has reached the draining board/floor than has reached my mouth.

Admittedly a rather strange title, but what the hell, when a random thought occurs to you like that, your first subsequent thought is obviously, 'Now THAT shall be the title of my blog'. Or is that just me..? These things usually are :/
So, straight to the matter at hand: Eid! Or more excitingly, the night before Eid, because I think it's universally agreed that nothing much happens on the actual day other than eating, and planning to go out but then eating again instead.
For us, the night before Eid is inevitably VERY VERY stressful. This is because my mum and brother become very enthusiastic about baking, and decide to bake everything in the recipe book, and then decorate with every kind of sprinkle under the sun. I despise baking and would rather make one simple thing and then leave the kitchen. My mum's enthusiasm for having something baked clashes with the stress of having to make fifty other things for the next day as well. This causes several rifts.
It is fair to say that by one in the morning the brothers had sodded off to bed, whilst my mother and I were at opposite ends of the kitchen with electric tension crackling between us, staring each other out with mad eyes and heat-induced afros. The kitchen was a bomb site of dough stuck to the floor, flour strewn across all surfaces, decorative sprinkles scattered in various locations, half-marinated chicken drumsticks dripping yoghurt onto the sideboard, and burning onions. And yet, on the table between myself and my mother's forcefield of stress, sat a nice pile of baked buns/muffins/cake.
I shouted that I had yet to put some mehndi on my mum. She shouted that she didn't want any on. I shouted that I wasn't putting any on either then. She shouted don't be stupid. I shouted so now you're calling me stupid. And so on.  In the middle of us stood my grandma, who, unable to understand the English, and the fact that my mother and I are both very hot-headed and shouting matches like this are trivial, was attempting to make peace between us, worried that we were going to start throwing heavy kitchen utensils at each other.   It's all in the fun of Eid. :) Don't worry, we'd calmed down by the time we got upstairs. She even persuaded me to put some mehndi on- I could do hers the next day. 
So here is the nicest tasting thing I baked (chocolate buns with melted Galaxy chocolate chunks with chocolate frosting and chocolate buttons on top). I took the best (ie chocolate) aspects from several recipes and combined them. Ahem.
 They were pretty nice. And yes, that is the party tablecloth that my mum loves to put down on Eid. (We never really grow up.) But I still vow not to bake again until next Eid. The stress kills me.

Eid day itself consisted of blurry eyed sleepiness, since I'd only slept two hours, then baking again, then cooking various things, then finally changing from bleary-eyed-floury-pyjamas-me into uncomfortably-jazzed-up-me. On the plus side I got to wear bangles, which I have formed a strange attachment to, even if my hands are too fat to remove them without the help of hand cream :( 

We spent the day at my grandmas, everyone getting together and wasting no time in sitting down and eating everything that had been made. Which of course is fun until you are insulted publicly by certain relatives ¬_¬ BUT we don't take these things personally. PFFT. Myself and the (NICE) cousins became so bored that we went on an acquire-ice-cream trip, which was just peachy. And the day got even slower, as everyone dropped off one by one into comas following the ingestion of more food than they'd had in the previous month altogether.

And that was Eid: We went nowhere, did nothing, and were vaguely uncomfortable in our clothes, but it was still, incredibly, a lot of fun :D Wolves crew, you were bitterly missed :(

Other noteworthy things, which are not Eid related (because, yes, I'm in the mood for rambling. Again.):
  • I have discovered that the word 'Lund' (The name of my old chemistry teacher/Satan) still evokes a physiological reaction in me, causing my arterioles to narrow, and my total peripheral resistance to increase, thus increasing my blood pressure (HELL YES REVISION WIN). I discovered this because the brother (who now has him- Happy fate) was complaining about him in very short, one syllable words, and as I listened I actually felt that familiar old rage within myself. I don't know what I'd do if I ever saw him again. Most likely just spontaneously combust.
  • Speaking of blood pressures, a random man with a clipboard accosted, yes, accosted me in the street today and asked me if I wanted my blood pressure checked. Aside from the obvious, 'WHAT'RE YOU TRYING TO SAY, MATEY? DO I LOOK LIKE I NEED IT CHECKING?!' I was unsure how to respond, so threw him off by saying, 'Actually, I am able to take my own ¬_¬'. This puzzled him sufficiently to make him go away.
  • Despondent Medic is responsible for my rediscovering of Neil Gaiman :D I've read one book of his a while back, and always intended to read more, and am now a bit hooked. Legend of an author. Thank you muchly.
  • The Emad-ness likes to wear a low hat and sunglasses and hide in his car near public buildings. I don't think I need to insinuate any more here :) Much fun was had rediscovering every good track in the universe, for nostalgia reasons. 
  • Mark Wahlberg is the cheaper, 'Lidl' version of Matt Damon.
  • Baby Bear looks incredibly cute with a bubble bath beard. As does Hasan in a school uniform. *Sniff* And Aunty Em is far better at baking than any of her neices, however Delia they try to be ¬_¬ Pfft. 

Friday, 3 September 2010

Not too Shabby (Recycled title, because I love that damn phrase)

Hello! (Warning- this is a horrendously long post because I'm in a rambly mood)
Before I go into the actual point of this post (food...obviously), I should make a record of todays events: Our mosque doesn't usually cater for women, but on the last Friday of Ramadhan they clear out a floor so the women can read Jummah. So myself, the mother, the cousin and the grandma went along. For one, it was WEIRDLY nostalgic- I used to go there every day after school until I was seven, and I remember everything looking huge. Such as the great big chasm of a staircase leading down to the mosque entrance. Now I realise it's just five small steps and a little, worn-out doorway. The Great Hall where we used to sit is just a small-ish room, and the intensely mysterious 'corridor' which I used to sneak off to explore under the pretence of going to the toilet, is just..well..the corridor to the mosque kitchen. I think I preferred my childhood outlook :)

Then there were the women. My grandma knows pretty much everyone, so countless women who I do not know were randomly shaking my hand as they came by to meet her (I don't think many of them knew who I was either). Hand shaking: fine. Very nice, pleasant and over and done with very quickly. What I do NOT appreciate is situations like this:
Unknown lady approaches Grandma: How are you?! So nice to see you!
Humaira sits, minding own business.
Without warning, Humaira's head is gripped in a vice hold and turned almost 180 degrees, to breaking point of her neck.
Unknown lady, currently breaking Humaira's neck: AND WHO ARE THESE GIRLS?!  ARE YOU [insert father's name]'S DAUGHTER?!

Humaira  (out loud, in strangled tone): YES, YES I AM.
Several seconds of unknown lady just observing, whilst maintaining her death grip, then letting go.
Humaira whimpers in pain and curls into a ball as Unknown lady initiates a similar attack on the cousin, who is brain damaged following the severity of the event.

Yes. The joys of community.

SO, back to the point! I had to blog, because *that* day finally arrived. Yes. I made food willingly! True, it was only falafels, which aren't very hard to make, but if you had observed the burnt-to-a-crisp messes that all my previous cooking attempts have become, you would understand the achievement here.
The adventure, a tour de force of tears, laughs and sheer adrenaline thrills, is documented below.(Note, the excessive detail about cooking is for you, Aunty Em. Since you enjoy these things).
  • 13:05- wake up. Look, I'm making the most of being able to sleep in before uni starts. And I am a slob. 
  • 15:00- Younger brother enters room. He begins high school for the first time on Monday, and is fretting about what should go in his pencil case and what shouldn't, therefore wants me to sit with him and sort it out. Bless.
  • 16:00- I decide to make falafels having seen a rather nice picture of them in my student cookbook (win!). Drive to Asda with brother (watching out for the nasty parking attendant who hounded me when I scraped my car. Brother (all 5 foot of him) promises to beat him up for me if he sees him.). Pick up ingredients and much unnecessary junk food.
  • 18:00- In true Asian style, totally ignore quantities in recipe book and begin throwing together ingredients in random amounts. No self respecting Asian housewife pays any regard to ingredient quantities. If you can't guess it intuitively, according to my mum, you're not a cook.
  • 19:00- Falafel are ready to fry and red onion/peppers/tomato/lettuce salad is made (hungry sigh....), and pitta breads are ready. There is a small moment of horror when I drop several falafels into the oil and they start to disintegrate. Note to future Humaira: ALWAYS BIND THEM WITH EGG.
  • 19:45- Toast pitta breads on panini type grill. My finger, in a random suicide attempt, decides to toast itself as well. This was extremely painful. 
  • 20:00- Rather messy pitta bread toasties are complete, and finally eaten. And are not bad, and nobody dies as a result of food poisoning! Success!
So yes. I am now no longer demoralised and shall endeavour to make more challenging things, that require more than simply being mashed up in a blender and fried.
And because I was so proud, I took photos :D This is before they were semi destroyed by frying. (Please Note: I'm not an Arab, or a cook. Clearly I cannot do Arab food justice- I'm just glad they turned out edible).

Yes. Because it is the only kind of salad combination worth eating.
I forgot to photo the actual finished result. Yes, that kind of absent mindedness is possible.OH! (Nope, not done yet).
I had another photo to add, because the Wolves crew visited again :D Hasan feeding Baby Bear strawberry jelly:

Okay, I think I'm done now. I should go and try to relieve my semi broken neck, and devise more recipes involving chickpeas.
Over and out :)