"The duty of a good Cuisinier is to transmit to the next generation everything he has learned and experienced."~Fernand Point

"A cookbook must have recipes, but it shouldn't be a blueprint. It should be more inspirational; it should be a guide." ~Thomas Keller

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where I Excel

Our Sunday Brekky Ritual

Anyone can follow a recipe. But what about those talented people who can take whatever's on hand, throw in a pinch of this, a dash of that, and come up with something delicious -- and different? Here's a simple method for cutting yourself loose from cookbooks and having more fun in the kitchen.- www.oprah.com

To be successful at cooking you have to have incredible hunger, no doubt about it, not just for food...There's a hunger to want to become something, to contribute, to do something that's good in the world. —Norman Van Aken, chef

Interestingly enough, I am just one of those people who can cook without a cookbook. I literally got a collection of hundreds and thousands of recipes in books and magazines and clippings I got from just any reading materials, mainly newspapers and old magazines ready to be thrown into the bin for good...but, but ....

Once I got home, I couldn't really be bothered looking or reading the recipes I tore off or copied ...I just put them between pages of any book or notebook I had on hand ..if not, I just put them inside my bedside drawer...and forget all about it!

My life is always spent in the kitchen since I was young as if I was designed to be a kitchen dweller. I learned how to cook when I was 9 years old. It started off with a simple cooking of boiled rice under the supervision of my Auntie.

In Grade 5 we had Home Economics. I was 11 years old. We were taught how to cook basic recipes made from eggs: egg omelette, scrambled eggs, poached egg, fried eggs, hard and soft boiled eggs etcetera. We were even taught how to cook eggs by rolling them on the side of hot woodfire stove where the ashes were real hot! Definitely not on top of the embers as in those days, there was no such thing as electric stove in our country. We used this so-called dirty kitchen where we used firewood lit under a strong steel tripod as our cooking stove. So I was a natural born "girl among the cinders". If you know what I mean!

Sometimes, in lieu of the tripod, we used three equal size of strong rocks positioned like a tripod with vacuum in between to allow firewood to fit in, that would enable to produce good combustion to cook food.

At home, I watched my Auntie or my mother cooking. I always loved to give them a helping hand. I was their favourite dishwasher because my other siblings hated washing up. Besides, I am unfortunately the eldest girl in the family too. So that explains a bit.

It would always be world war II when it came to tidying up. Just like the mother hen with her planting, harvesting, pounding and cooking rice where nobody likes to help except when in the part of eating. Just like that. It's a normal atmosphere, you know. haha.

As we always had have abundance of fresh homegrown vegetables, I learned how to cook vegetables with proper instruction from my mother. I did take note everything she taught me so that the nutrition part of the food would not be spoiled.

In those days, there was no recipe books to copy or follow. So I basically learned cooking by estimation and calculation because we were such a big family. At 11 years old, I got to think of cooking for about 10 people and even more if we had incidental visitors. That happened all the time.

In the boarding house during my university days, my boardmates and I shared the cost of food so that we could economize our budget. Instead of buying cooked food from any roadside restaurants lining outside the school, we went home straight from our classes, and guess who did the cooking?

You guess it right! Me! Because most of my boardmates grew up with maids at home, therefore their experience in the kitchen was not as broad as mine. I did not mind at all, I mean being their Chef! I rather use this modern word for a cook. Who cares?

Again, I cooked by calculation and estimation without spoiling the taste and nutrition. Even my children love my cooking. Infact, my youngest preferred me to cook for her birthday than us going to the restaurant. Oh, they have plenty of memories to share when it comes to my cooking.

There is so much to tell when it comes to cooking without the cookbook. I can do better without really.

My aptitude it seems is a reflection of what I eat and of what I am doing even safer to say how I am doing things in particular to my cooking.

If you can create your own trick, I'll tell you what, "the secret of good cooking lies in the taste buds of the cook and a healthy palate of the eater".~Leah Dancel

It's actually my quotation.

As cooking is like an art, you can create a pleasure in your cooking style to the delight of your family and friends who take the leisure in eating whatever you serve them.

As to my cooking? You can give it a name for a recipe if you like. I am not keen of nomenclatures. I just cook and I eat.

So, like what most Germans would say before meal, Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chicken Soup

Just a simple nutritious chicken soup for a nice cool rainy like today. I simply boil three pieces of maryland (hipbone sides) till tender. Chuck in chopped onions. Add three pieces of bay leaf. Boil longer so the flavour will be pronounced and add vegetables (any of your choice). I used choko and beans as they are the only ones I have at hand. Season to taste with salt and paper, and add fresh coriander leaves, close the lid and take the pot out from the stove. Hmmmmm...Serve with rice or your favourite buttered toasted bread.

Bon appetit!