Celebrating Hari Raya in Rome 2010

Dear Mak,

How are you? I hope that you and the entire family are doing okay. I saw some of the Raya pictures already from facebook through some our relatives and I really enjoyed seeing them. It looked so festive! I wish I was there! Bila Mak nak buat akaun facebook? Marina pun nak tengok juga gambar yang Mak petik!

Over here in Rome, it doesn’t feel so festive. It feels like a regular day and even Cart had to take the day off since Eid is not an official public holiday in Italy. But I’m glad that I could hear Warna radio station online this year. It always reminds me a little of home. I tried to record and sync the timing to suit our breaking fast times, but I keep getting into technical difficulties -_-

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In any case, this year, in the morning of Eid, we finally managed to go to the Grand Mosque in Rome. This year we are lucky as we were joined with my classmate Meryem and her husband. They were really lovely company and I enjoyed getting to know them better.

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There were 3 prayer session – 8.30, 9.30, and 10.30. We barely made it for the last session and I was worried that we would be late. So I rushed in to take my ablution, and had to fight through to find space in the prayer room. There were so many people there! I anticipated that there would be a lot of people, but what I really didnt appreciate was that there were a number of people who were sitting around, with no intention of praying, taking up space, and spent the entire time chatting in their groups. I dont understand why come in the first place. And there were children running around and screaming. It feels very chaotic Mak. And I felt dizzy after a few minutes. Oh pening!

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After the prayers, I moved over to hear the sermon more clearly. But it was in Arab so I didnt understand anything! I’m very puzzled, Mak. Shouldn’t it be at least in Italian? After all, we are in Italy. Macam tak puas hati, begitu. But different country, different custom I suppose. Moreoever, Cart said that this is possibly a sensitive issue to discuss.

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Anyway, after the prayer we went to have a walk outside the mosque where there were many open markets selling all sorts of things – kind of like the old Geylang Serai before its reconstruction. It was crowded and confusing, but you can see a lot of interesting sights there, like kebab, cookies, imported food and others. There was someone selling a used playstation game even :p

Check out this satay looking food!

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Cart got some Egyptian sweets from one stall, and they were really nice.

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One of them is called Kunafa – and its a hairy looking biscuit thing. Meryem pronounced Kunafa so beautifully and she corrected some of the way I pronounced some of my favourite Middle East Food. I should have recorded it :p

We said our goodbyes to Nizam and Meryem and then later in the afternoon, we prepared to get ready for a small and simple gathering with Cart’s family. Its so non traditional! We didnt make any Malay food this time and instead, completely Italian styled dinner! I think its better too anyway. Italian food is less troublesome to cook compared to Malay food. And we were done cooking in less than two hours. So together we made these :

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Pasta with rughetta and cherry tomato

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pollo alla cacciatora

Stir fried potato with spinach. Uh. No picture because I forgot to snap :p

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And Cart managed to whip up some Honey Frozen Yoghurt too with the ice cream maker!

I had a lovely evening, despite how low-key it was, just relaxing, chatting with each other, playing games on the wii and just enjoying each other’s company.

Sorry you cant see Paola in this video, she’s being covered by a giant plant. Speaking of plants, people have been giving me a lot of plants as presents but I am running out of spaces to keep them! I feel tension when my plants die.

The next day, which is a Saturday, I’ve invited a few of my friends from Italian class and they brought along their respective husbands. Wah, it was such an international group! There was one from Morocco, one from Syria, one from Peru, one from Romania, and from Malaysia! I think all of them didn’t know each other prior to this, but it was a group of people that I enjoyed talking with and I hoped that they get along well.

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Anyway, this time round, I thought that I’d try to make my most favourite thing to eat during Raya, Ayam Masak Merah and ketupat.

I also made some samosa, as well as some sweet and sour fish as a backup plan in case no one likes the Ayam.

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This is not a samosa, but I forgot to snap a picture, also I used the same filling :p

Wah. Its a little bit of a hassle, having to prep, to shape, to coat, to fry, kedebikkedebuk. When the guests arrived at 7.30, I was just halfway done. Thank goodness the ladies helped me out. If not, I think I would have fainted.

I know its just a small thing for you though Mak. You are superwoman! You could make a full buffet with 6 different dishes by yourself. Sungguh power mak saya.

Anyway, Cart warned me not to make the Ayam Masak Merah too hot, He said, “This is for the guests, this is not for you”. So I cut only 5 pieces of dried chilli in the blender and it didnt look red. Even after a squeeze of tomato concentrate and a bottle of tomato sauce, the colour is still wont become red. In the end, I had Ayam Masak Oren.

But anyway, the ketupat were pretty easy to make. Not sure if you remember, but last year while I was back in Singapore, I bought a couple of packs of instant ketupat. All I had to do was to boil it for about an hour and let it cool down before serving!

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This is one piece of ketupat mini

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After it was boiled for an hour

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Ketupat and Ayam Masak Oren

Its quite embarrassing, especially when presenting it to my Malaysian guests. But in the end, it was heartening to see them have a nice appetite 😀

After the dinner, we had a chat. Even my Peruvian friend did a demonstration and proudly showed off her country to us. She was like a teacher! Maybe next time I’ll do a demonstration about Singapore too! Hahaha!

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It was so funny. Its a shame that time passes so fast when you’re enjoying yourself. But all in all, I had a lovely weekend. It was simple, but very enjoyable.

So there you go, that was how I spent Raya in Rome! I miss you Mak and I cannot wait to see you in December

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12 thoughts on “Celebrating Hari Raya in Rome 2010”

    1. That’s my favourite chilli sauce too! Haha, I asked my Malaysian friends to bring them for me when they were back in Malaysia 🙂

      I love them so much, I could use up a bottle by myself in less than a month. But no one sells it here in Rome, so I have to ration very very carefully :p

  1. Your ayam masak oren looks nice & i bet it taste better!

    Kak, hahahaha i still wonder how my Mak could prepare the ingredients and cook 4 periuk of lauk hari raya from afternoon till midnight tirelessly.

  2. Hi marina, Selamat Hari Raya to you too! Just saw your comments on my blog, Good luck in making Rendang! Don’t worry about the Ayam Masak Oren, I used canned tomatoes plus dried hot chilli padi which I didn’t use many, and still turned out red! Maybe next time you can mix in some canned red tomatoes on top of tomato purée and ketchup to make it red.

    Best wishes 🙂

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