Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home Cooking vs Eating Out

My parents were overseas for most of October and November leaving me and my grandma at home. Its not too much of an issue I guess, except that I couldn't just call home and say that I won't be home for dinner. I needed atleast a days notice if I don't intend to come home simply because I would need to cook up some food for my granny. On the plus side, if I had enough notice, I was able to go out most nights without having to cop a big lecture from my parents. Yeah I know, I'm 26 and I still get nagged.

So basically me and Moishii went out ALL THE TIME. I was out on a weeknight at a pub drinking. My alcoholism is no longer confined to friday nights and weekends. This also meant that I ate out, ALOT.

The Excelsior Hotel Surry Hills

Tapas plate


1/2L Mango Bier

Schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce and sauteed potatoes

Usually I wouldn't complain, since I love trying new food and I enjoy spending time with my friends over food. However, a whole month of nonstop pub food and alcohol plus my "I can't be bothered cooking, I'm just going to throw something together for dinner" type attitude, I was missing my mum's home cooked meals. I would get home from work, and I would eat leftovers, or knock up something quick like this:

A cheats bruschetta

Country sausages with sauteed zuchinni and carrot potato mash

Grilled pepper chicken with salad

Then when I've filled up my tummy, I would cook dinner for tomorrow night. I would rarely cook meals that I would eat on the spot since by the time I get home from work, it was close to 7pm. And by the time I finish cooking and eating, it'll be closer to 8. So my solution was to cook the night before, or cook something that requires minimal effort (like pasta). When I could be bothered cooking, it wouldn't really be chinese. I'll cook some of our traditional dishes from my parents villages, but nothing too challenging. I've always made a point not to cook anything too "authentic" chinese, because my mum can always cook better. Well, I didn't want to wait for my mum to come home before I got some home cooked meals. So I decided to tackle the one dish that I've always been hesitant to make. Hainese Chicken/Bat Chit Gai.

1. Its hard to make the chicken cooked and tenderly juicy at the same time.
2. My biggest fear is chopping bones with a cleaver incase I miss and lose a limb or two.
3. This is a "mum" dish.

But guess what? I turned out absolutely perfect! So good infact, when my parents got back the next day, they took one look at it and assumed my older sister cooked it! (Talk about faith...) And when I told them, they couldn't believe it and asked me to go through step by step what I did, to prove that I DID cook it! AND I chopped it chinese style! My mum was soooooo proud!! hehehe

I think I am alot more willing to cook chinese food after that. It was the line I had to cross to make me want to be a chinese cook. It also makes me appreciate home cooking a lot more. The fact that I couldn't be bothered cooking any of our traditional dishes says a lot about my attitude. It was always easier to knock up a pasta, or grill some chicken and fish, throw together a salad etc than it was to cook a home cooked meal. Theres no extra effort involved, just that its not my first instinct. Maybe its the eating out all the time and always eating something not chinese that has got me thinking the way I do. It may sound silly, but for me to make the chicken so easily had me thinking why don't I cook things like that more often? Why don't I spend more time learning all of my mum's recipes? Why is it every time I cook a meal for my family, its never chinese food?

Well, I've basically made the decision to make more of an effort to appreciate all the home cooked meals I get and learn how to cook it the way my mum does. Its funny how something as simple as making Hainese chicken can get me to think so much......


Anonymous said...

your home made bruschetta looks yummmmyyy... can I have the recipe?

SoRMuiJAi said...

Is this the same stalking anonymous who didn't want to meet us? :P

As for the recipe, everything is to taste. But heres a rough estimate.

Bruschetta topping:
1 whole tomato - Diced
1 clove of finely diced garlic
a few Basil leaves finely diced/shredded
a small handful of parsley finely diced (Including all stalks)
Mix everything together with a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper, a little bit of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Let sit for about 5mins whilst you prepare the bread.

As for the bread, (in this case, it was hamburger buns...) slice and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on it. Heat up a pan or use a sandwich press and grill until crispy. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it over the toasted bread.

Top bread with bruschetta topping. Eat and drop all the topping all over the table. Scoop up the dropped topping with a spoon and retop your bread. :D