One of the important life skills that I have had to learn since moving here is…how to cook. Up till before I left, I was either eating as much Singaporean food as I can or enjoying my mum’s lunch boxes and the last time I had to cook to survive was more than three years ago during exchange. So when I first moved here, Jens was the one who did most of the cooking but eventually I had to start regaining my confidence in the kitchen.
It has been quite an adventure of having to force myself to eat my own sucky food, burning things spectacularly and overloading on seasoning etc. Thankfully those things didn’t/don’t happen too often and cooking has become quite therapeutic for me. It is really quite satisfying to surprise yourself with a nice meal and also watching someone else enjoy your food (thanks Jens).
So here is a little photo journal of some of the things that has come out of my kitchen. Honestly it is not easy to juggle cooking and taking photos at the same time so kudos to all cooking blogs out there. Anyway, here we go…
Starting out with breakfast:
Any chia seed lover out there would probably enjoy this easy overnight soak of chia seeds to bulk up a smoothie. This is my daily breakfast on the go because I can just blend some fruits together, pour it in this jar with the pudding and leave the house. It is usually filling enough to last me till lunch and feels like an early morning “bubble tea”.
For weekends, when I have the luxury of time, I like to attempt pretentious brunch dishes like this shakshukah. Nice to know that I don’t need to pay $20+ for this hearty mix of eggs, tomatoes, feta cheese and spices.
For snacks, I am happy that I can easily get golden mushrooms at the Asian store here and make things like this pseudo Japanese yakitori dish. I call this a snack because it is usually gone even before I can complete cooking the main dish.
Thanks to my Jie’s recommendation, I got myself a handheld blender and it has been one of my best buys here! I use it not only for smoothies but to make soup and because I really LOVE Soup Spoon’s basil tomato soup, I had to attempt to recreate it here. I kind of go through “phases” with food and have since gone through at least 3 pots of soup myself (since Jens doesn’t drink soup). So I probably have had enough soup for awhile.
Now moving on to mains: When I first started cooking meat, I started out on easy mode using sauces like this sambal sauce my mum sent over.
Or stirfrying minced beef with spices to attempt this Thai basil beef with egg dish.
I have since “graduated” from easy mode to playing around with different marinades and experimenting with different cooking styles. I wouldn’t say that it is harder but it just requires a lot more patience and time. Like what my mum told me, there are no shortcuts in cooking.
I am a noodles > rice person and you have no idea how often I think about char kway teow or bar chor mee. So initially pasta was my “comfort food” because it was easy and fast. Here was my attempt at using avocado as the sauce and I mixed it with corn and bacon. So yummy!
Just recently, after seeing one too many instagram posts, I had to give asian noodles a go. Here is my fried bee hoon attempt which turned out to be fried tung hoon because I bought the wrong noodles. Yes it is quite unbelievable but I have never bought uncooked beehoon before so I don’t know how it looks like. But thankfully I like tung hoon so all is good, hahaha!
One of the big differences I feel now versus when I was here on exchange is that…I think about Singaporean food more. Perhaps it is the feeling of being far away from home and having to wait a long time till my next visit home or how food is such a big part of family time/social gatherings in Singapore. I can’t quite put a finger on it but hello to everyone at home reading this, I look forward to catching up with everyone of you over good food in December!
And of course I miss my mum’s food a lot too so this was my attempt at her plum sauce chicken. It doesn’t match up to hers but it will do because it makes my home here smell like…home in Singapore (hahaha).
I have also been having fun trying out different recipes I read online like this cauliflower pizza where the base is made out of cauliflower, egg and some salt and pepper. Pretty amazinggg!
Jens also introduced the idea of eating fruits with food and I have since used a lot of mango/watermelon/pomegranate in our dinners. Meat and fruit is really quite a good combi I must say! I have also experimented with things like zucchini pasta and zucchini chips…and basically anything that is on sale at the supermarket.
Finally moving on to dessert:
This is a pretty common Swedish snack you can find at cafes or supermarkets and they had a very offensive name previously but are now just called chocolate balls. Jens always grabbed a pack at the supermarket so I had to learn how to make it myself. It is an easy no bake combination of oats, cocoa powder, butter, sugar and coconut flakes.
I also try to make “healthy” desserts like this no sugar/flour strawberrry muffin. It has been really satisfying to know that it is possible to get tasty snacks without overloading on sugar. Recently I tried a no bake raw brownie with chocolate ganache that had hardly any refined sugar and it still tasted very much like a brownie. I am still amazed by it, hahaha! Perhaps it may appear in a follow up post?
But of course sometimes nothing beats the “real deal” of baking the classic way and this was my attempt at a lemon chiffon cake. I cannot say that I did a great job with the glaze but Jens still devoured most of the cake anyway. I also tried to be creative the next day and warmed it in the microwave, split it and spread greek yoghurt between the layers. It balanced out the sweetness of the glaze and make it taste almost like a cream cake.
This post turned out to be quite long but hope you enjoyed reading about my kitchen adventures as much as I enjoyed sharing them! I am still learning/experimenting in the kitchen so any recipes or advice is always welcomed.
Till the next time!