Pretty Cookies Part Deux

Prior to my Teacher’s Day post, I wrote about some beautiful biscuits I’d come across during visits with friends.

Here are a couple more that match those ones.

Because I love these too much, I’ll post another pic of em…

Coconut hearts… or at least, that’s what I’m calling them. Antam saja wah!

How could you resist this? and this omnipresent Kek Batik? The latter owes its name to its similar appearance to the traditional batik textile. Exquisite taste! The cake, not the textile…

And what a way to end this post!  These two slices simply sum up the kaleidoscopic feast we saw earlier rather nicely. I’ve been invited to two more openhouses tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to the (eye)candy on the platter. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Teacher’s Day falls on 23 September in Brunei, but because it was the fasting month of Ramadan last month, the celebrations have been postponed to tomorrow, Saturday, 18 October 2008.  So, in honour of all teachers in Brunei, and your tireless and sincere efforts to educate our young ones, here’s an apple for each of you…

Actually, the pic is of an apple given me by a couple of TESL Majors as I arrived at work on 23 September. They were stood in line just outside my door, all smartly dressed, and I was thinking if I owed them money… was certainly way too early for a Christmas carol…   But it turned out to be a carefully planned, thoughtful, and sweet gesture in celebration of Teacher’s Day… The apple was really sweet and crunchy too… and not poisoned.. 🙂  Thanks Ai Li, Pei, Morsidi & others.  I don’t feel worthy of the apple, but loved every single bite of it!

Raya Bikkies :)

It’s amazing how colourful the cakes and biscuits can be when it’s Hari Raya.

I’m not so much into biscuits, I prefer cake.  But these biscuits were eye-popping… in a good way!! They are by far the prettiest Raya biscuits I’ve ever seen. You’ll see what  I mean…

There’s a funny story to these Teddy Bear bikkies. My host said that her little nephew went berserk when he saw them… poor kid was apparently scared sh*t of teddy bears!! awww…… Dr Phil’s number, anyone??

Anyway, imagine the effort that went into baking these cookies!! Cakes next time!

Sorry these photos are a bit blurry, I only had my cameraphone on me at the time, so had to make do. These photos are unedited.

The Raya Spirit

Yes, I have been quiet since my last post… well, it was/ is still raya… and in Brunei, that means a whole month of visiting, eating and drinking, socialising, more eating and drinking, late nights, even more eating and drinking…

But don’t get us wrong, raya is not just about food. It’s the month of forgiving, of mending fences, of establishing or re-establishing relations, or even strengthening existing ones.

An expatriate friend once chastised me, on behalf of all Bruneians, for our apparent indulgences and excesses during raya, which he argued made no sense given our month-long fast throughout Ramadan.  What he didn’t understand of course was that the everyone is (overly) keen to host and feed you because we believe every bite or sip that your guests take is act of deed.  Sure, we are guilty of wastage at times (not allowed or condoned, obviously!), but the essence of the whole affair is really to treat your guests in the best possible way and to make them feel welcome. My dear colleague, I suspect, had never ventured into a Malay house or accepted a kind invitation to one (blame his Brit reserve).  But even if he never did, I’m certain of one thing; the Grinch couldn’t have missed the raya spirit all around him during this month.

Vibrant colours abound, from fairy lights that decorate houses…

… to the festive clothes that we wear…

… to our colourful traditional golden brocade (kain tanunan), to the little envelopes for money gifts for kids (angpau)…

… to the food…

But, underneath all the array of colours and delicious food, the real spirit of Raya exudes through the warmth, hospitality and goodwill as we visit each other.

Selamat Hari Raya everyone, Maaf zahir dan batin!  Food pics coming up…