Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cucina creativo

I love cooking. Cooking is my passion. Its thrilled when a mundane ingredient is turned into superlicious dish. Its more satisfying when others love your cooking. Especially your other half.

Being a working mom, my time for this passion is limited. Even so I consider myself lucky for some reasons : the first being my Mom and Dad are staying with me looking after Umar thus lunch and dinner are ready everyday. The second being my office is just nearby, only 7-10 mins drive. So I cook when I feel I want to or cravings hit me or upon request from dear hubby. Weekends definitely my prime time for cookshow.

Last Sunday we invited several friends and relatives for so called jamuan raya. I started to cook on Saturday, preparing peanut gravy (kuah kacang) and chicken rendang. The next morning I prepared chicken curry gravy and blanched mustard leaves and bean sprouts, and boil eggs to compliment with curry mee. Beforehand I boiled some instant rice cubes (ketupat segera) to be eaten with rendang and kuah kacang. Lastly I mixed some bread to make bread pudding. All these by myself! first I was a bit hesitant when thinking about this do. I kept thinking of what to cook, do my guest eat this, do they not eat that, how to estimate what to buy, what if there are so many leftovers, will they come. Lotsa 'what if' kept swaying in my mind a week before. Due to this overwhelming hesitation the invitations were only sent at the very last minute. Alhamdulillah almost all invitees came over. But still there are many leftovers.

My mom being a thrifty person kept some of them in the fridge and freezer. "Nanti bila2 boleh makan". Yesterday the idea of turning the rendang into serunding struck me. So after work I headed myself to Pasar Tani and bought some ingredients like lemongrass, ginger and coconut milk. Well actually the ingredients of rendang are sufficient to make a serunding but my tastebud told that 'there's something wrong somewhere' in my rendang. A second opinion from my sister seemed to agree. Hence the pasar tani stuffs.

At home, after preparing dinner (ohhh.. I had meat singgang a la Kelantan for our dinner..and stir fried cabbage) I began to cook serunding. I blended some shallots and onions, together with garlic and ginger and thin-sliced lemongrass. I poured the mixture into the coconut milk which was already in the wok. Seasoned with salt to taste. Then I stirred until half dried and poured in shredded chicken meat. I continued stirring and stirred until it completely dried and no liquid left. This morning we had defrozed rice cubes with kuah kacang and serunding for breakfast.

My point here is its not about mere cooking that makes you a good cook or homemaker. A homemaker apart from cooking must be able to be creative in the kitchen. Most of the time leftovers are inevitable but with some creativity they may become good recyclable dishes, not to mention : delicious! I sometimes turned wholemeal bread into 'nachos', I rolled and pressed them thinly into cracker form and deep fried for a while. Accompanied with spaghetti sauce, it became a perfect snack for the whole family! If there were still some bread left, I will make bread pudding with vanilla sauce<--this is hubby's favourite.

Upon cleaning up my fridge one day to make space for next weekend stocks, I found a container of frozen sardine. I took it out, thawed and found some bread in the fridge. I took an egg, beat them and poured into the sardine. I then scooped a tablespoon of the sardine mixture onto the bread and topped with mozzarella slice and grilled it on the pan. Voila!A so called instant mini pizza for two!

However this recycle thing only applicable on non vegetables. Vegetables as all of us know must be consumed instantly. It is not recommended to keep the vege for next meal. They are best eaten in fresh form or cook in just a short while. Nevertheless I have a recipe for a long kept spinach leaves. Prepare a batter consists of wheat flour and rice flour in equal portion, a tablespoonful butter or margarine, salt (in case unsalted butter is used) and water. If you prefer an egg you may beat and add it too. Take a leaf of spinach and put into the batter and fried. Perfect as snack or for tea!

Till then, enjoy cooking! And recycling!

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