Archive for the 'Foodstuff' Category

Home Cooking

We don’t kiss each other on the cheeks or hug or tell each other that we miss each other that often, instead we make home-cooked meals enough to feed a soccer team or more. Read more

Destressing

I think having my own kitchen is as important as having my laptop because that is where I can use my own pair of hands to create taste, memories, experiment and destress. Read more

PILLOWY GOODNESS

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Butter & Chicken Breasts

At one point of my life, I tried to substitute any “fatty” ingredients or cooking methods into healthier ones like making oven-fried chickens with cornmeal and pre-panfrying it and then finishing the rest of the cooking in the oven, using milk instead of cream in traditional cream sauce recipes like spaghetti carbonara and one of the biggest change I did was using sunflower oil instead of butter in baking, I would make “low-fat” muffins, banana breads, cupcakes..etc – all these modifications started because I wanted someone special to me to enjoy all these tasty food without creating unneeded calories for the belly. Read more

OX’S BRITHDAY IS IN OCTOBER

PHOTO CREDIT: GABI CHAN

For the past year I have been interested in what my grandma ate growing up as a farmer in Southern China. I know that she is from an ethnic group in China called “Hakka”. Hakka has a lot of dishes that represent their own culture and short-grain glutinous flour is one of them and while I was thinking of ideas for the HIT+RUN event, I realized that this sticky texture from glutinous rice flour is my favourite (maybe it’s in my genes). Read more

Happiness

Happiness is sharing food with family in a great atmosphere.

Getting closer to my food

I remembered being asked once what will grow in my future garden and the plants I could say were orchid fruits to salad greens to herbs. At that moment, I realized that I probably won’t be able to grow anything I can’t eat.

So, on my little unexpected holiday, I decided to become a “WWOOFer” with my friend Zebby in an organic vegetable farm in Cuckfield, England for a week to get closer to what I eat.

Eating every meal at the farm was a like a big family gathering. Talking to Toos about farming was very intriguing for me as she said that she doesn’t make the plants grow but she provides the best conditions for them to grow. She also said that being a farmer requires a lot of energy (and I would say a nurturing personality). I can see that she takes care of her farm like she would take care of her children and it is the same as she cares for everyone that works for the farm. I wish I can eat the vegetables that she nurtures at the farm everyday.

Highlights of my trip:

I love the smell of my hands after picking cherry tomatoes – those yellow powder on the tomatoes really makes the tomatoes tastier!

The smell of pumpkin leaves reminds of stomach acid (that was the nicest way I could describe it)

I learned that supermarkets wash their potatoes in water so they look clean and more people will buy them but at the same time it shortens their shelf life significantly- which creates a market for them to sell more potatoes.

I found out that organic new potatoes can be unbelievably fluffy!

I had my first barley flour biscuit and fell in love with it and I might have had 7 in a row, it was barley freshly harvested from the farm.

I also found out that picking potatoes can be a back-breaking job, actually for me it was more like knee-breaking because I am not flexible enough to stand and pick the potatoes so I kneel on the ground

The most amazing thing I learned is that you don’t have to water the vegetables even when you have a vegetable farm because if the soil is good, it will be self-sustainable – crazy!

My Daily Lunch

Having worked at a catering company before, I like the idea of staff lunch as it really saves a lot of money and time for me! At Proef, staff lunches means an hour of preparation and a little of time to clean up afterward. The staple of our lunches are crusty gourmet bread from De Bakkerswinkel (an awesome Dutch bakery that sells loaf breads that are crusty super crusty on the outside and soft and a little chewy in the inside) and cheeses like Gouda and we cook a lot of vegetables as well, as meat in Holland is really expensive! I am trying to find creative ways to make the most out of vegetables even though I am used to cooking more meat at home. I am slowly converting from a rice/noodle girl to a bread/cheese girl (special thanks to Lactaid pills on the cheese part)!

A couple of weeks ago, I made an amazing pasta with a vegetable sauce with grated Gouda and very tasty considering there was no meat at all!!

Here’s how I made this vegetable spaghetti (I know… not a very creative name, how about “kitchen-sink spaghetti”?):

serves 2 hungry people or 3 not so hungry people

INGREDIENTS:

- half a bag of spaghetti pasta – about 250g
- 5 small tomatoes – cut into small wedges
- 2 small purple onions – thinly sliced
- 10 mushrooms (grated) – grating them gives the sauce more body (also, good for hiding mushrooms in the sauce if you are cooking for someone who doesn’t like the texture of mushrooms – it worked with my brother!)
- grated garlic (half of a big one)
- grated Gouda cheese (as much as you like)
- salt and pepper
- chili powder (to taste, depending on your tolerance level)

THE SPAGHETTI:

Cook spaghetti until al dente (taste it and you will know when it’s done).

THE SAUCE:

I tried to intensify every vegetable flavour in this dish so I started off with caramelizing the onions in low heat (with olive oil) and a little bit of sugar and stirring them constantly until they turn soft and shrink and gets sticky and turns brown (for about 10-15 minutes)

Then, I added the grated mushrooms and garlic into the pan with the caramelized onions and cooked for about 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. The tomatoes joins everything in the pan but before adding them I used my hands to squeeze the tomatoes into even smaller chucks (it’s like what you get when you buy crushed tomatoes in a can) so they cook faster and it’s easier for them to be incorporated with the rest of the vegetables. Add some chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Next, I added a little bit of water for them to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Everything in the pan will have turned into a thick sauce with vegetables hidden in it, so just add the spaghetti and the grated Gouda cheese in after the heat has been turned off. Stir until everything has been mixed together. Serve and enjoy!!

At Proef I am slowly learning that both beauty and pleasure can be found in the simplest things in life like this pasta dish.