Since I am blogging again and since I hardly do anything more exciting these days than play video games featuring tentacled monsters, you will be obliged to read about my cooking escapades, that is, after I’m done talking about my gaming escapades.
I believe I mentioned before that I started experimenting with cooking out of necessity. Missing the food in Singapore was propelling me towards a permanent hunger strike that led me to realising that I had to do something about it or starve to death.
The solution was to cook things that I never would in a million years have thought to cook had I still been in Singapore. Things like bak kwa, curry puffs and chicken rice. It baffles me why anyone in Singapore would make these things themselves when they can buy them really cheap and good, but they do. People just do.
I, on the other hand, have no choice but to make them because I would stop eating altogether, otherwise.
I made spicy tuna puffs once because I was tired of spending hours frying little potato cubes, but potato ones taste infinitely better.
I really miss being able to walk out to buy something good to eat, whether a snack or a full meal, and be back home within 15 minutes with something good. You can’t really get anything like that in England unless you don’t mind having McDonald’s and KFC every day.
Even if there were, it takes five minutes to dress warm enough just to pop out for 10 minutes. And then another five minutes to undress when you’re back home, the thought of which makes staying home and starving the more appealing choice.
The food in England is quite bland compared to Singapore fare, which is actually a good thing if you’re health conscious. People do seem to be quite health conscious here. While doing job placements at nurseries, I noticed that my co-workers always had salad for lunch, and they don’t do Thousand Island dressings or anything calorific like that. It’s usually oil and vinegar or plain. Seriously, I would rather starve, and I mean that very literally.
As a side note, I make a rather good balsamic vinaigrette so I do like salads but not as meals by themselves and never for lunch! I miss my Raffles Place lunching days of curry chicken noodles and nasi lemaks and bak chor mees.
And this, I don’t even remember what this is called anymore:
I did enjoy eating in England the first year I was here but the novelty has worn thin and the blandness has quite effectively killed my appetite. Now, I would rather cook than go to a restaurant, even if money were no issue. This is a complete turnaround from when I was in Singapore, when I practically ate out every day and loved doing so.
The wonderful thing about cooking is that you can make your food taste exactly the way you want it. Include more ingredients you love and none of those you hate.
The not so wonderful thing is that sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you envision it. I enjoy making up my own recipes (based on current cravings plus inspiration from online recipes plus available inventory) so it takes a bit of trial and error to get the proportions just right. And then I never get it perfect because I tend to dole out sauces and seasonings by feel rather than measuring them out scientifically, so I can never remember how much to use the next time to make it perfect.
This is my chicken steak with garlic butter mushroom sauce, with courgettes and spaghetti to make it a balanced meal.
Piers likes having balanced meals; otherwise he feels guilty. Yes, the whole country is like that. It makes me feel like a gluttonous evil alien when, like, I have KFC and skip the coleslaw.
On the healthy side, I have recently become addicted to Brussels sprouts after discovering that they make a very tasty side dish.
I roast them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a very generous sprinkling of coarse ground black pepper. It has to be really good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I have experimented with many different brands in the last two years and realised that the quality totally changes the taste in food.
Also, baby Brussels sprouts taste a lot better than “adult” ones. The baby ones are hardly bitter and taste more buttery and nutty.
On the not so healthy side, I am as klutzy as usual and always run into mishaps in the kitchen, such as dropping eggs on the floor or dropping the whole salt shaker into my cooking pot.
My most recent catastrophic incident involved me being violently attacked by an open cupboard door on my way out of the kitchen, resulting in a bruised knee and ego.
I know it is quite evil of me to bully your senses with such an unpalatable picture after all that food porn, but your choice of being a blog reader obliges you to endure any and all visual hazards rampant on the Internet, therefore it is okay for me to do it.
The good thing about living in England is that I hardly ever have to show my legs since it’s always too cold to, even during the summer, so my bruises are safe from public viewing (except on the Internet but you have been warned, albeit rather too late).
I actually have another bruise on the other knee but that one is quite unremarkable and undeserving of narcissism so you won’t see it. Also because I don’t even know how it got there.
Piers denies all responsibility.
And I am making no comment on that.
That kind of reminds me of a new American drama series we are watching called The Following, starring Kevin Bacon. It’s about a serial killer who fucks the mind of an ex-FBI agent by committing kills by proxy while being a death row prisoner.
It’s as exciting as 24 but Kevin Bacon is no Keifer Sutherland so it is a bit disappointing in that regard and Piers keeps telling me to stop being mean to Kevin Bacon (even though he did agree with me that KB looks like a weasel) but what can I say except again that he is not Keifer Sutherland.
Still it is worth watching and I have gone off the point, so I had better give it a rest and bid you adieu.
And so I shall.
Adieu, and be wary of sneaky cupboard doors, as always.