I come from a family who can cook incredibly sumptuous meals:
Cantonese cuisine, Teo Chew dishes, Buffet-style, Snacks, even desserts!
When Cousin Jiaxin celebrated her 21st birthday, her younger sister, Jianing, made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese for her, already world-class-baking-standard on her first attempt. The cupcakes were so delicious we kept asking her to bake somemore!
When I was young, I would climb up onto the kitchen cabinet and sit near to the stove so that I'd be tall enough to observe how my mum cooks. At the age of 11, I began whipping up weird dishes for my parents and siblings: Dry Pineapple Mee Hoon Kuey, Apple Fried Rice, Sardine porridge etc.
We moved a few times after that and I stopped cooking. In my first new house, we got a maid who can cook everything; all my meals were being prepared for. In the next, the kitchen was too small. Then, I was staying at my aunt's (Jiaxin & cousins) place where the entire family cook so well all I have to do is eat. After moving back home, I'd eat out with my mum.
At first, I was spoilt for choices as there are a few coffee shops around my neighbourhood. Occasionally, I'll still whip up some porridge for myself. It has come to a point where I have gotten so bored with eating-out. We are always having the same food from the same stalls over and over again. Sometimes I wonder why the stall owners don't seem to make any improvements to their cooking even though they have been cooking the same food for years.
When pre-mixes and ready-made food were introduced in supermarkets, I was so thankful! Cooking became so much easier than before! Besides, we can customise and add in ingredients to our own likings. Instead of boiling the soup with pork ribs, we can change it to chicken thighs. Add as much of our favourite veggies into our noodle soup, change an ingredient for our porridge and more!
In other words, we can choose to eat as healthy
This year, my friends, family and I have organised 2 mass food gatherings so far: CNY bring-your-own-bbq-food-item BBQ and a beach picnic.
The beach picnic was held in June. BFFs and I brought a home-made picnic food item each. The thrill of food outings: you'd never know who made the same food dishes. But even if we bring similar food items, the ingredients & cooking methods may be different: double-thrill!
Despite running a fever, Conan still came for the picnic. Together with Fenny, they made Tuna & cheese Pizzas, using white bread as the pizza crust. Innovative.
Calvin Timothy and Nicole made Wafu seafood salad, topped with plenty of crunchy cashew nuts!
Angie made Japanese Jelly with Longan to quench our thirst.
I brought fried beehoon for everyone. Yongwei cheated and bought some BBQ chicken from GIANT on the same day.
Calvin and Nicole brought the cutest napkins ever!
Our sick bird, Conan:
We finished the food and played games, a great catch up session with BFFs!
Rainbow Congee: Ready in 20 Minutes.
Talking about pre-mixes and ready-made food, I fell in love with the Rainbow Congee. Priced at only S$3.80/packet, it's an award-winner food product!
The rainbow congee is developed by students from Singapore Polytechnic. It's the grand winner of the SFMA Food Product Concept Competition 2007. The congee consists of buckwheat, brown rice, green beans, seaweed, mushroom, barley & more. Each packet serves 4.
The award-winning rainbow congee is formulated to be ready-cook in about 20minutes -- fast & convenient. So if you're looking at a light & healthier meal, the rainbow congee is the perfect choice.
In each packet, the congee is further packed into 2 smaller packets, considerate to small families when it comes to food storage.
The ratio of water to one smaller packet is 3:1.
Add in 3 bowls (rice bowl) of water to 1 packet of congee.
The congee itself is tasteless. Flavour it with your favourite ingredients & condiments. For me, I like to add peanuts & sardine.
Yang Sheng Le Herbal Soup: Ready in 40 Minutes
Another one I especially like is the Yang Sheng Le American Ginseng Concentrated Herbal Soup. Pour in this concentrated mixture & add about 750ml of water and chicken joints.
Glutinous Rice Balls: Ready in 15 Minutes
For tang yuan lovers, check out this finding my Sis made a few days ago.
My ah ma makes the best PLAIN glutinous riceballs in the universe. I have a 2nd favourite and it taste exactly like my ah ma's.
The riceballs are so chewy like mochi I can't stop!
==== WARNING ====
One thing about Tang Yuans: Bring it out of the fridge only when you are about to throw them into the BOILING WATER. Otherwise all the flour is going to melt due to condensation. The moment water vapour condenses onto your riceballs, they are going to be lumped together & this is a irreversible reaction.
Instructions are so CLEAR.
Just follow it.
Add sugar and some pandan leaves when you're boiling your water. Tie the pandan leaves into a knot before you throw it in so that it's easier to take it out for disposal later.
Continue to boil for about 10 - 15 minutes.
Fried Bee Hoon: Ready in 10 Minutes
Friends, there's really NO secret to my fried bee hoon.
I'm sharing my recipe with you and you go try it.
What you need:
Stew Pork (canned)
Before you start frying the beehoon, soak it in water until it's soft. It takes about 20 minutes.
My assistant of the day: Jackie Goh.
To fried really tasty beehoon, get this brand of stew pork; no others.
ONE can is enough for 6 - 8 people.
Using a metal spoon, gently scoop up & discard the top-most layer of oil (whitish layer). You can save up a little bit to fry the garlic later.
Chop some garlic.
I'm adding egg omelette strands to my beehoon this time. Previously at the beach picnic, we had cabbage and corn in the Beehoon. You can add veggies of your choice into your beehoon: beansprouts, kangkong, pineapple slices etc.
Use a scissors to strand the egg omelette.
Bubble Leong wants to help. LOL
Use moderate fire for this.
Add in the some stew pork oil to the pan. When it's moderately hot, add in the garlic. Make sure the oil is NOT too hot otherwise you will burnt your garlic and it'll taste bitter.
Add in the the fried bee boon just as the garlic is turning golden brown together with the stew pork and oyster sauce. Allow the Bee hoon to be dripping wet so that you'll get a smooth texture later.
Mix well and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Add in the egg omelette and mix well.
When it turns soft and slightly watery like this, You're done!
Last weekend, Cousin Jiaxin came over and we had a sinful food gathering: FRIED FOOD. We're using new oil.
I'm not a fried food lover and the main reason is because I am afraid of being scalded by the oil during the initial frying process. So, my courageous friend took up the challenge to place the food in the frying pan instead while I did the flipping.
Soak up the oil with napkins.
Jackie & Bubble is hungry!
Mom has marinated some chicken wings the night before and we'll be frying them too!
Bubble Leong wants to eat some.
Jackie: WAIT Bubble.
Mum came home just in time to share frying tips with Jackie.
Leftover Macdonald Chilli sauce is most useful!
"Don't know how to cook' is no excuse to cook for your family when cooking can be THIS easy.
Let's #CookForFamily together!
The #CookForFamily is a bloggers-for-bloggers initiative, initiated by Daniel from Daniel’s Food Diary. No competition, sponsors, or hidden agenda involved. More than 100 Singapore Bloggers are participating in this, with a simple objective of getting more bloggers, and hopefully their fans and followers, to start cooking and bonding with their families.
We can make a difference!