In the past year or so, I've come to assume various roles which I'd never envisioned myself in. One of the most challenging, unexpected and satisfying roles which I've had to play has got to be that of a : *drumroll please*
I have never been that good in the kitchen. I still remember marveling at Sharon (the bride-to-be) when we were besties and desk-mates in Convent. She often had to cover her mom's cooking duties when Auntie went off for trips or balik kampung. Sharon could cook an entire dinner with soup (and make salt-bake chicken!)! To me, who had only ever made instant noodles - it was astonishing.
Another episode which would stick to me greatly was watching Yusrina, Shereenor, Farehah and Zura whip up fantastic Malaysian fare with minimal local ingredients back in Sydney. I mean, I bore witness to their culinary talents when they managed to make SATAY in our very own MUV backyard! When Sunny (our Msian Std Prez) mentioned satay, I was like, "How is that even remotely possible??? U sure that it's not just ayam kunyit?"
But no. I was there. I helped skewer the meat, I blew peanut skin off roasted ones to be made into Kuah Kacang and I stirred the sambal made with a variety of secret ingredients. When I tasted them, I got angry at all the supposedly Malaysian eateries in Sydney. I mean, if my friends could produce such authentic yummilicious Malaysian cuisine in our extremely small kitchen for a couple of hundred people - why couldn't they?
Of course, I have to mention Sawi. I've only had her food ONCE - but the image of babelicious Sawi slaving over the stove ('slaving' for the sake of alliteration only) is forever imprinted in my mind. Sawi - the fashion godsista, KL-bornNbred, patron of the Arts, write - somehow didn't occur to me that she could homecook stuff like Sweet-sour fried fish, Prawn in Eggs, Tom Yum (hahaha - Siamese mahhh). So yea - beauty, brains and a wok-efied cook.
Neways, I digress.
Today's post is about me as a cook. In the beginning of the year, when I was basically cooking only for myself - I tended to cook mostly one-pot-wonders - which weren't really wonderful to say the least *ahem* It was mostly pasta, noodles, bread-y stuff, couscous and always so random vege side. In retrospect, it was kinda healthy in a way (very little meat, lotsa fresh vege) but also kinda unhealthy (instant stuff with lotsa MSG). I also cooked very sporadically - only when I felt like it.
When I (had to) begin cooking for two, it was a whole new different ballgame. Suddenly, there was a demand for Rice! Meat! Two different dishes! Variety! And KG looked forward to his post-hourplus drive home dinner very much; so I really didn't want to disappoint.
As a result, I started cooking. Really cooking. I began buying all these stuff that I'd seen in my mom's kitchen :
- soy sauces (dark n lite, sweet n salty), cooking wine, fish sauce (I never like it before),
- spices, tumeric powder, five spice powder
- and the omnipresent CORN-FLOUR.
Recently, I also started reading a couple of how-t0-cook blogs. I am so hooked on them right now! Lol - besides the obvious drooling over pictures of food - I find myself actually attempting some of the dishes I see in these blogs!!! It's a really big deal for me when I say I can cook sweet sour fish now, albeit with vegetarian fish! Lol. So, the ambitious (and shopaholic) me has also decided to stock up on dried seafood produce. They're really great for many Chinese dishes and lend the extra oomph you need to take your food from ok to oolala. Anyway, they omit the need for chemical seasonings (think MSG) and so result in healthier meals.
So far, I have: large, peeled Pangkor- anchovies
I also have these extremely 'sweet' dried shrimp from Sabah (Grandma passed some to me)
And my current pride and joy: dried scallops (aka conpoy)!!!!! Seriously, scallops is probably my favourite sea produce and having shelled out (pun not intended) RM 13 for a measly 100g of these golden babies, I hope I'm able to use them well!!!
KG's mom also kindly gave us this bottle of XO sauce - which I love love love (read HERE to see why) but which KG stragely dislikes.
Look at our fridge! Hahaha - it's always stuffed to the brim :p
I experimented with really easy stuff at first - omelettes, soupy vege dishes, steamed tofu, bean curds with everything :p. As you'd notice - no meat. I didn't like handling raw meat; I still don't. However, I did try to after a while - or I'd have to go quasi-vegetarian. As a result, nowadays I can mostly produce some semblance of a home-cooked meal; a meat dish and a veg dish for every weekday dinner. (we eat out on weekends hehehe)
Anyway, I'd like to introduce you all to my other personality (besides educator, make-up buyer, wedding planner, policewoman wannabe etc) : the cook.
Today, the cook had to prepare lunch for herself as she is not on SPM duty and is alone at home. She decided to use up the extra linguine (only enough for one) and some of the brand-new but on-discount FETA she just got from Jusco (RM3.99 for a tray, ppl!!!!)
She began by cooking the pasta in salted boiling water (this eliminates the need for too much seasonings later on as the pasta would have soaked in some salted water). She then chopped up some tomatoes and threw them into a bowl with some cold garlic butter (1/2 tablespoon).
After the pasta had been cooked, she drains it and mixes it with the tomatoes and garlic butter - The heat from the pasta melts the butter and warms the tomato pieces - creating a very light coating of sauce for the pasta. She finishes with a dash of S&P, a sprinkling of Parmesan and several cubes of feta on the top.
(Gosh, so tired writing from 3rd POV). :D I loved this! It's very very simple, both in preparation and in taste. Nothing mind-blowing, but still tasty and I HEART FETA to the max!
Ps : The above picture was taken after I'd eaten about half of the meal; was hungry and forgot
Ps2: This is never going to be a food blog - but I'll just post whatever comes my way :p hehehe