Two weekends ago there was an 11-hour blackout in our city. Initially, we had planned on going to the nearby island of Siquijor and spend the day there, maybe bike around, go to the beaches and stay for the night. Fun, right? But really, we realized that might be too much of an extravagance more than anything, so, we stayed home, albeit begrudgingly.
While my husband, Q, decided to take a nap for the rest of the afternoon, I took out all my journaling supplies and laid it all on our dining table. I grabbed his camera with the tripod and propped it beside the table, hoping I could get a good angle from the side. I’ve been loving the angle of the shots that I’ve been using recently, compared to my conventional flat lay ones that are shot from above. It sort of suits my taste more.
After setting everything up, I took a couple of test shots and some videos as well. Everything looked good.
I sat down and thought of what spread I wanted to create. I racked my brains about the things that give me joy lately. At the top of my head, cooking popped! So that was it, I decided to create a journal entry about cooking!
Top 5 dishes I want to try cooking
One of the best things that I looked forward to getting married is getting our own place, with our own kitchen, and deciding what food to prepare for our meals! Yes. Cooking!
Q and I enjoy cooking a lot! We love to experiment in the kitchen and try out recipes, without exactly following the recipe. (lmao) I know. We like to live our cooking lives dangerously.
One of the reasons I’ve completely stopped being employed traditionally (I’m a remote worker now. ✌️) is because I didn’t want to miss out cooking with my husband, either for brunch/dinner. It’s one of my non-negotiables in this period of my life. I love spending time with him a lot, most especially in the kitchen. We discuss what we cook, taste each other’s cooking and talk about how we can improve it, or what it needs more of, etc. I’m so excited when the time comes that we will have better kitchen utensils and equipment, (oven!), and just a nice wide kitchen! We can do so much more! But for now, we’re making do with what we have. Still, it doesn’t stop me from imagining the dishes that I would really want to try cooking.
I made a page on my Hobonichi for fun for the dishes that I want to try cooking soon!
Japchae / Palabok
I actually just recently learned that Japchae or chapchae means mixed vegetables. Apparently, when it was invented centuries ago, it used to be noodle-less. But these days, the highlight of this dish is the glass noodles. I think of japchae as the Korean pancit dish, except it’s sweet! The first time I’ve had it, I instantly loved it! It’s made with many ingredients that were cooked separately and mixed together, but each ingredient brings out such good flavors and somehow harmonizes with all the other ingredients. I really love its sweet, savory flavor.
On the other hand, Palabok is my favorite food of all time. It’s a Filipino noodle dish made with pork and shrimp sauce mixed with anatto powder, topped with shrimps, pulled boiled pork, bits of chicharon, and scallions. I grew up snacking on this dish every time my mom and I go for groceries every Saturday afternoon. But, despite being my favorite dish, I have not yet attempted to cook it! I’ve tasted so many different kinds of Palabok, so I should have a basis for the taste that I can go for, but I just haven’t tried it! I will soon!
Okay, this is a no-brainer. I absolutely love Japanese ramen! As with all other dishes, cooking ramen takes a lot of time, yes, but also patience! I once saw a Japanese ukulele player on Instagram post his process of cooking ramen. It is a lot of work! You have to individually prepare all the ingredients, but also taking into mind how the flavors would all balance out once you assemble it in a bowl. I loved the process! One of these days, I am going to go for it! And honestly, I really just want to stock up on a lot of Japanese ingredients on my kitchen shelf. (These things are expensive!)
Salmon Garlic Butter
I’m a simple girl. I love salmon. I love garlic. I love butter. I want to put them together. Hahaha! Easy enough? Well, I’ll find out once I try it! I have to learn the right herbs to go with it too.
I’ve actually cooked Japanese curry a number of times now, and according to my husband, and 2 other friends who have tried it, it’s pretty good. Modesty aside, I actually love it too. However, I really can’t take credit for it since I haven’t cooked it with a roux that I’ve made myself from scratch. I’ve just been using pre-made roux cubes sold in the supermarket. I do a lot of other stuff with my version of curry to make it taste good, but until I can make my own roux, I simply can’t say that my curry is good. But, that’s just me, okay?
I love breakfast food! When I started to really get into cooking, I watched a lot of Gordon Ramsay cooking videos. I especially love the one where he makes homemade food in his own kitchen! If I remember it correctly, one of the dishes that I saw him cook, was the Eggs Benedict. The first time I tried this glorious dish was in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I remember being so amazed by how it looked, all the more with how it tasted! I really didn’t have much food experience then, that’s probably why I reacted that way, but, I love eggs. Hahaha! And the way it was prepared was new to me. So, when I saw Gordon Ramsay cooked it, I got excited and made a mental note to myself that I will definitely learn and attempt to make it.
Okay, so that’s 5 dishes! Well, technically six. I am not sure when I will be attempting to cook these dishes, but I will surely share it here in my blog! I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
Unexpected Love for Cooking
When I was young, I was always told that a woman should always learn how to cook. There’s always that notion that if you don’t know how to cook, it is likely that your husband would leave you, and that it’s even shameful that you don’t have the skills to cook. Ridiculous, right? When you’re constantly told that growing up, you kind of developed that defensive, rebellious attitude about it, and just want to defy it altogether. Well, maybe not everyone, but I did. I hated all these expectations and stereotypes of being a woman. However, I was also worried. Honestly. I mean, I do think that cooking is kind of a survival skill unless you can earn enough and hire people to cook for you at home. So, I thought, that if I won’t ever learn to cook growing up, I could always enroll myself in a cooking class once I turn into an adult. I was really set and was so sure that I wouldn’t learn how to.
But I did. My mom kept making me assist her whenever she cooks our meals, or when preparing a batch of food for the holidays or special occasions. I didn’t think I would enjoy it. Though there were times that I thought that it was such a bother, but I eventually, genuinely enjoyed it.
I think there’s an innate desire for women, to be useful, nurturing, and be caring altogether, and, I think cooking food for our loved ones is one of the ways that we could satisfy that desire. Do you think so, too?
To be honest, right now, I am really proud of the fact that I can cook, and not just for myself, but for others too. I am not quite there yet, but I will continue to learn and try. I’m also considering on enrolling for proper cooking lessons sometime in the future.
I was watching this movie, Julie and Julia, a few weeks ago. Julie and Julia is a movie centered on the life of Julie Powell and her journey to conquering Julia Child’s cookbook of French cuisines.
Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.Wikipedia.com
She documented this journey through a blog, which is gone now, but I was able to find it through the Web Archive.
THE JULIE/JULIA PROJECT: Nobody here but us servantless American cooks…
I loved the movie, and somehow it resonated with me, like how I try to pursue the things that bring me fulfillment and joy. It’s a constant pursuit, and it changes in every season of my life.
However, I also learned that it’s important to find it within yourself. I can’t explain it articulately, but for me, whatever I decide to pursue, I have learned to really check on myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Do I want to do this for my own self-image or for my ego, or is it something that I can do that will bring glory to God. I really strive hard to discern that now. It’s something God has been constantly teaching me over the years.
Right now, I cook, because, yes, I enjoy it, I love the process of creating a dish, but, more importantly, I want to take care of my husband, and eventually our family, and in doing so, I also fulfill my role as his wife and in the future as a mother, if and when the time comes.