It's been a while since I last posted - I've been more active on the Baby Sung blog, mainly because there are more changes and happenings in pregnancy to write about.
And, ever since week 6 of the pregnancy, I have not been in the mood, and mostly too tired to do anything vaguely productive, and that included working on Dotted Line or anything fashion or craft related.
Well, things have gotten a little better since then and I've started (slowly) to work on stuff again - I've actually resumed checking out design and craft sites (when I was feeling ill, all I wanted to do was lie in bed). There will be an update on Dotted Line soon; I'm working on it.
In the meantime, in order not to lose momentum on this blog, I decided to blog about my latest renewed passion - cooking!!! I find that many crafty or design related people tend to also share a love for cooking/ baking - perhaps it is that similar element of creativeness and inventiveness involved.
Anyways, first, a background to my cooking history.
I think I've always been interested in cooking, or what goes on it the kitchen. As a child, I started off wanting to bake stuff - I remember having some children's cookbooks with simple recipes that I wanted to try. I wanted to cut cookies out of cookie dough; sprinkle cocoa powder on top of pastries, watch as baking powder made the cake rise, etc etc..
However, my Mum was a neat freak and SUPER protective of her kitchen. It was sacred ground. The floor was mopped once in the morning and once in the evening. Our kitchen was so clean you could eat off the ground. In fact, my family has spent many hours sitting around the pristine white kitchen floor after dinner chit chatting. So, I had to sneak into the kitchen while she was out doing errands and try to pull off something before she returned home. Unfortunately, she always knew (why is it parents have this strange knack when their children are up to no good - I suppose I will be finding out real soon). One of the reasons she cited was that the kitchen looked "too clean" after I was done. (I guess I folded the washcloth a different way, something like that?!)
My Dad, on the other hand, was super supportive of all my "culinary ventures" and often tried to persuade Mum to let me borrow the kitchen for my "experiments". On the occasion when Mum lost the argument, she would retreat to the living room or bedroom - somewhere far away where she couldn't see or hear "World War III" going on in her beloved kitchen. And I, gleefully would try to bake my cookies or chocolate cake. Unfortunately, the results never encouraged Mum to support my cooking - my pastries and cakes were all a disaster. I recall specifically a chocolate cake that never rose - all that I ended up with was a crisp, burnt brown slab, dense and inedible. It was a waste of time, effort and food. Practically everything I made had to be thrown away.
I can't quite remember how, but despite Mum's protests - I persisted. Everytime I saw an interesting recipe, I itched to try it. And miraculously, somewhere along the way, things improved - drastically. Perhaps I got better recipe books, perhaps it was because I paid attention and followed instructions more. One very important thing I realised that there would be no aga-ration in baking. Precision was key.
One day I managed to bake a very rich and yummy butter cake (I used the recipe to make cupcakes initially). Ah - and Mum was a sucker for butter cake! After that, she didn't stop me from using the kitchen (I think having a maid to clean up after me also helped). She was always particularly happy to hear that I was planning on making butter cake! What a simple and delicious recipe that was - I still remember all the ingredients by heart till this day.
I progressed on to brownies, chocolate fudge cake, chocolate chip cookies, etc. I'd have friends over for potluck and I would invariably contribute dessert. Asian cooking I picked up from watching Mum cook. I spent many happy hours in the kitchen chatting with her as I watched her prepare and cook dinner. You could say I learned by osmosis!
I didn't cook when I was working full time - too exhausted and schedules were unpredictable. But with a more flexible schedule, I started again especially because I got tired of eating out all the time. Although sad to say, I've dropped baking totally since I moved - my new place has no space for a large gas over (the best for baking, by the way - forget those multitasking convection/microwave stovetop things)
I'm terrible at Western food (except for baking, and a particular lamb dish) - I just can't figure out how the flavours blend - but Chinese food I cook by instinct; by and large I have not made anything that is terrible tasting. If I'm not sure how to cook something, I will refer to recipe books to get a gist of the marinade or sauce, or cooking times, but I never follow instructions straight - I have to change something about the recipe. Thankfully Kisu loves all kinds of food, including Chinese - so he's been super supportive of my cooking. Meats like steak and pork chops I leave to him - he's way better at those!
Pregnancy has given me even more of a reason to cook - to be able to control my diet and nutrition. Somehow, I don't find it as much a chore as before preparing ingredients. Much as I like to cook, I still don't quite like cleaning chicken or veggies.
Kisu decided that this renewed sense of passion warranted some new kitchen purchases - over the weekend, I became the proud owner of a new wok and frypan, and knives. Before that, I'd been hanging on to my old Tefal wok and frypan that had seen better days (I was literally scraping the bottoms out; very unhealthy). And trying to cut raw meat with a set of steak knives - bought by my Dad 10 years ago over some TV Media programme!
The new equipment was expensive, but we're thankful we got them on discount (half price!) and what a difference good tools make! Coincidentally, they are all German made - they really do make some quality stuff. So here I am cooking my Asian food with my German made implements!