Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nice Dinners

I've been cooking a lot. It's so funny because I never needed to cook back in Singapore. It's not that I don't know how to cook because I do know, it's just that there wasn't a need for me to cook. My mother cooks for the family, she doesn't work, so there's no reason for me to cook. Even if there is, I don't have the time to cook as I still need to go to school, and I always wake up late. When there's no one at home and I'm starving, there's always 62353535 or 67773777 to call. The two nights before I left Singapore, saw me calling both numbers in succession.

Now that I don't have such a luxury here, I have to cook.

Most of the time, my food turned out to be somewhat edible, but also through repeated cooking, I've better my food over time. Remember this post? I first tried out cooking marcaroni and cheese, but well, it was edible but not fantastic. After some other tries, I finally realised the crux of marcaroni and cheese.

This is another marcaroni and cheese dated 13 June 2006.

The trick is to melt the cheese, then pour the marcaroni into the pot of cheese and mix it, then the cheese would be evenly spread out among the marcaroni and lessen the effect of getting sick of too much cheese or that some marcaroni tasting tasteless. If you noticed in my earlier version of marcaroni and cheese, I merely spread the cheese over the marcaroni, hence some parts have too much cheese and some parts not enough cheese. I'm now madly in love with marcaroni and cheese and able to eat finish all without feeling sick of the cheese~

However, there are still times when I cooked pathetic stuff. Once I tried making omlette, but because I turned on the wrong stove, my egg couldn't cooked. In an attempt to cook my egg, I stirred it. Then I realised that the wrong stove was turned on. By the time I got the correct stove to be warm, my omlette turned into scrambled eggs due to my over excessive stirring of the egg. Also something was wrong with the mix of ingredients I added into the omlette and while eating the food, I noticed a pool of water being strained under the eggs. Disgusting. Even after draining the water, I still couldn't bear to eat any more.

Another pained experience is with this pasta. I used spiral pasta which I already have not much a liking for (don't ask me why I bought it, please) and I wasn't sure how long it would take to boil. In the end the pasta turned out to be not well cooked. Not only that, the tomato sauce itself was totally wrong. Number one, I turned off the stove and forgot to turn it back on again, so it couldn't boil. Number two, I accidentally poured in the water from the canned mushrooms, god knows what additives were in that disgusting pot of water. Number three, I added the wrong kind of ham and it turned out not suited for this tomato sauce. I ate no more than a third of it before finally throwing away.

If you've notice, I never cooked meat before. I don't know how to marinate meat, I don't know what I should use to marinate meat. I'm also not very confident of my little frying pan whether it is suitable to cook meat. But well, I needed meat if not I'd die. I'm such a big meat eater.

Turn back the clock to my Benelux days. I know I have yet put anything up, but just to let you guys preview the travel log first, I'll say a little bit about it. I bunked in with Gabriel and he cooked for me on one of the nights. Actually it was my last dinner in Benelux, after that I had to leave on the night train back. Well, I found out that cooking meat is actually not very difficult.

gabriel's pork
Basically he just marinated it with olive oil and some Italian herbs and put it on a pan to fry.

Of course, him being a pathetic guy (contrary to all the food posts he has put up), he, after cooking his slab of meat, put in in the mircrowave to make sure it was thoroughly cooked. Oh well... ... men~ And of course, Joan Ang can do it better! Although, granted, he food was edible, not that bad, although the mash potato could be better, but maybe it's just my taste.

Deciding that I can cook, and having a leftover bottle of wine with me, I decided to buy some meat to cook~ The wine was brought, incidentally also by Gabriel when he bunked in with me. Some guy on his train gave it to him. bah~ My gift to him when I bunked in was so much cooler lor~ wahahaha~ Anyway, just to be safe, I bought the cheapest kind of meat, and the simplest looking kind. Little did I know that my decision led to two most wonderful home cooked meals I had in a very long time. Even my mother can't beat that.

The First Dinner~

1. The meat, marinated in olive oil, light soy sauce, salt, Italian krauter (not so sure what it is in English), and the wine.
2. Instant noodles, I need my carbos. My housemate commented that my noodles don't look cooked, but it was on purpose, I prefer my noodles to be firm and hard, and the past few times I cooked instant noodles it turned out to be too limp and soft for my liking.
3. Frying the meat, with an egg. Actually I had wanted the egg to be cooked sunny sided on top of the slabs of meat, but the egg fell off the meat and onto the pan, so it turned out to be, well, normal sunny-sides.
4. The noodles on the plate.
5. The noodles and the meat and the egg all set on the plate waiting to be served.

The final serving, together with iced peach tea.

I bought iced peach tea because I needed something sweet and quench thirsting that is not Coke or Pepsi, I think I've too much cola intake already. The whole serving turned out to be fantastic. The noodles were filling and just nice and tangy for me. The meat smelled good and was firm and tasty, the egg was well, as all eggs are. I added some dark soy sauce to complete the egg and it added some flavour to the noodles and a bit of the meat. The overall effect was fabulous. Much much much better than I had imagined. And of course the iced peach tea, I think Coke wouldn't be that complementary in that serving.

If I thought that was great, little did I know that better would come just the very next day.

I had five slabs of pork, but as you can see I only served two in the first dinner. When I was cooking the five slabs of meat, my housemate commented that I indeed was very hungry. Of course, I hadn't the intention of eating all five, not even Joan can do that. I said I was only eating two, perhaps three, the rest would be for the next day. My housemates are well, pretty envious of me that I can eat so much and not grow fat. Of course, they don't know that I am already growing fat from all my eating. It's just they hadn't see me when I was thinner.

Granted, I'm still pretty proud of my figure, even with all the extra kilos I've put on, they don't seem that much obvious on me, yet. The day I went grocery shopping marked yet another time I was picked up by some weird guy. It'd be nice to be picked up by some somewhat decent looking guys, but well, sad to say, I'm not a magnet for nice guys. bah~

The next day, I microwaved my leftover pork to mark the end of a good day.

I think it's the arrival of summer, that I can bring out the nicer clothes from under my suitcase and wear them. The dress I wore earned me three praises from three different people. All of them said the same thing, "Your dress is very nice!" *head swelling* Of course a dress would only look good on someone who can carry it off.

It's actually a very simple beige overall dress from CK Jeans.
beige ck jeans dress

The dress, and that people saying that it is very nice, will only state one point, fashion is not about keeping up with times and changing your wardrobe every season, fashion is about style that is evergreen. This dress goes back to at least seven years ago. No kidding, seven. I still remember it was bought with my aunt using maternal grandmother's money. At that time I was still young, probably sec one or two. That dress was going at a big discount. And of course, at that time I was still a sub-40kg (yes, I was damn damn damn skinny at that time, so I never thought that I'm now skinny) girl.

At that time, because I was still young and conservative, and that I was skinny and the dress was big for me, I wore it over a shirt. If you look closely at the material, it's sort of like an overall, so I wore is as an overall. And also because I was young and conservative, so that dress was too revealing, so must wear something inside. But as my weight soared, I never wore that dress again after secondary three, all the way until JC. After I started losing weight in the middle of JC two, and got back to a sub-50kg figure. My whole weight gain and loss history can be read here, so stop all ignorant comments if you don't know anything. I started wearing the dress back again after I graduated from JC. Leaving the school uniforms and shedding weight suddenly saw me without many clothes to wear, so I dug up the clothes from way long ago, before I grew fat, and this dress was one of them.

Of course, no longer a young and conservative girl, and no longer thin enough to wear that dress with a shirt inside, I wore it like how I wear it now, just the dress itself~ That dress and weathered through time and fashion, and also through me growing fat and thin and it's has after like so long of me owning it finally becoming a staple of my wardrobe. Especially that it's from CK Jeans. Anyway, this dress only proves to people that I'm not a trend following girl, changing my wardrobe every season. I only buy clothes which I can wear for a very very long time. hmm... This might even count as one of my oldest piece of clothing which is not a hand me down. Funny to some people, I actually do own quite a bit of hand me downs, handed down from my aunts.

Some of my hand me downs that I wear so frequently that it has become so Joan includes my pair of jeans, the one which I sometimes wear to school, although very seldom. I've not grown too fat for that pair of jeans already, so I don't expect you guys to see me in it anymore. And the red Burberry dress I always wear. That's a hand me down, and a very old dress. But nobody seems to know that, that dress has become so me, and also thus people labelling me as a brand conscious girl, because I wear Burberry. tsk tsk.

I've realised that I've yet again successfully went so off tangent. damn... I've to go back to my dinner now!

Because I'm known among my housemates as the most unhealthy person, I decided to buy something healthy to eat for a change. My housemates have come to realised that this (to them) thin girl does not eat salad or fruits, and drinks Coke like water, eats fast food and high carbo food every meal, and likes meat a lot. Every meal I eat don't have any vegetables, if I cook them. The only vegetables I eat are from sandwiches or burgers that I buy from outside. Only sometimes do I buy spargels (asparagus, in English), but haven't bought them lately. Anyway, I had a craving for cherry tomatoes after one of my housemates was eating it. I thought it'd be nice to add them in my pasta, especially with tamato sauce, but I've given up eating pasta with tomato sauce after having one very bad experience I mentioned further up.

I had the nicest dinner, and the healthiest meal for a very long time~

1. Fresh cherry tomatoes.
2. Boiled cherry tomatoes.
3. Marcaroni in a pot. Have I said I'm totally in love with marcaroni?
4. Straining marcaroni.
5. Melting cheese.
6. Melted cheese with marcaroni. Have I said I'm totally in love with marcaroni and cheese?
7. Marcaroni and cheese served with cherry tomatoes.
8. Leftover pork from the story above, sent to the microwave.
9. Served with iced peach tea yet again

A nice and healthy and wholesome meal~

I've bought more meat, chicken this time to cook tomorrow, and I will make my current favourite marcaroni and cheese again~

To celebrate my ability in cooking, and also that I'll be buying a great dea of local produce back home, I'll be holding a little tea party session on the first weekend of August. I'll be cooking maybe some wine marinated pork/chicken, depending on what I'm able to buy, asparagus fried and boiled, fried with the famed Schwarzwalder schinken and egg and some other stuff, boiled served with sauce hollandiase, and my favourite marcaroni and cheese.

I've invited four people, but only two have confirmed their attendance with me. But I haven't told my parents about this yet. So cross fingers~ Now thinking about the other two who have declined, I think if I tell one of them that the other is going, he might just agree to go just to see the other person. hmm... But then I'd need the other to go first. bah~ Anyway, it's not that I really want them to go, I headache so much for them for what? I go look for my other friends~

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