Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Public holidays and cooking

I'm glad my laptop computer has been revived. Two weeks ago, it 'died' unexpectedly when one morning, I switched it on and nothing happened. We sent it for repair and they said there was a problem with the motherboard. It cost quite a bit for the repair and replacement of a new battery as the old one was also 'dying'. However, it's still cheaper than buying a brand new laptop.

We have a number of public holidays between last week and this. Last Thursday was the Prophet Muhammad's birthday and Sunday was Thaipusam, making Monday a holiday too. So if you had taken Friday off, you'd have a five-day weekend. We didn't take Friday off however since C still had to go to school. But on Sunday, we went over to E's sister's home and together with E's brother's family and parents, the entire 'clan' got together for a one-night sleepover. The kids enjoyed themselves playing toys, games and swimming. This Friday, February 1, is another holiday for those in Kuala Lumpur as it's Federal Territory Day. I think I shall be giving Rusty a long overdue haircut. His fur is so long that I can hardly see his eyes now!

I'm back to my 'experiments' in the kitchen and C did one too recently with her own kid's cookbook. She made some merengues by whisking some egg whites with sugar and baked them in the oven.

My regular visits to recipe sites and re-visits of my various cookbooks got me concocting food using whatever I have in my fridge in order to not let stuff that have been sitting in there go to waste. Most of the time they are stuff like spices and sauces leftover from my other experiments with new recipes.

Last week I made chicken baked with honey and mustard. That was to use up the mustard I got some time back for mustard pork chops. However, it still didn't get used up, so I made hotdogs and that still didn't deplete the mustard supply....

Then one day, I was wondering what to do with leftover bread which weren't as soft as when fresh. I would usually toast them or make French toast with them but I was getting bored with doing that and found a simple recipe for what they call 'egg in a nest'. C liked the novelty of have a fried egg inside a hole of a slice of bread and that got her into the kitchen with me too.

I also have breadcrumbs sitting in the fridge from my experiment with crabmeat patties in the past. These patties contain lemon zest. E liked it but not C.

Last night, I used the breadcrumbs for a Western meal of pan fried breaded chicken thighs....and I still didn't use up all the breadcrumbs....I made a cheesy gravy to go with the chicken and potatoes.

And now while writing this, I'm trying to think of tonight's dinner menu. Although I enjoy cooking, there are days when I wish I could snap my fingers and delicious food would appear. Sometimes, it gets tiring when you think of all you have to do to get just a meal on the table.

You need to get stuck in a traffic jam to go to the market, decide what to buy from all the varieties of meat, seafood, vegetables etc, consider what your family members like and will or will not eat, consider the price and ease of using that particular food or ingredient. Then when you get home with your purchases, you have to sort, clean and store them. When it comes to cooking, you need to thaw, prepare, chop, marinate or do whatever is needed for the recipe. Then comes the actual cooking and washing up the utensils after cooking. So much time and effort to prepare a meal that's just gobbled up within half an hour....

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