Homemade Food is the Best… Ever!

Are you like me? Do you love making food from scratch? Knowing that you’ve put all that effort in, the challenge and time taken and love put into it, especially when it all turns out right?

I love the idea of home cooked meals, thanks to my mum, whom, without fail, cooks for us 364 days a year as we were growing up! I gave her one day off just in case she got sick ;), but I’ve grown up with homemade meals by mum was the best ever. It always puts a smile on my face when I walk through the front door and catch a whiff of that delicious smell, trying to figure out what was awaiting us on the dining table. I don’t know how she does it, for one, coming up with different meals every time, cracking her head with what to cook. I have to say, I’m already starting to struggle for the past few years of moving out, how did she do it for 20+ years and still going strong! She’s a true champion.

Mom and Me in the Kitchen 2011

I will always try to cook with her during the weekends and holidays, learning techniques, sauces and spices, putting two and two together, even the most simplest of ingredients, she would whip up something so amazing and tasty. Lately, she has been creating some amazing meals for herself and eating at her leisure without pressure from us kids now that we’ve all left the nest. Still… I want to thank my mum for all those moments with her in the kitchen that will stay with me forever, her patience with me, her amazing skills and knowledge through all her years of cooking for her family and for us growing up.

My passion for cooking came at a very early stage, at about 8 or 9 years old, I would watch her cook over that big beautiful wok, frying anchovies with peanuts, soy sauce and sugar for our rice porridge, stewed tofu and salted radish omelette. From then onwards I was hooked. I found my passion for home cooking from my beautiful talented mother. I still remember her secret for knowing when the peanuts were cooked – she would take a scoop and drop it from high up back into the wok and if it made a dull noise when it hit the wok, it wasn’t cooked. When it hit the wok with a nice sharp noise, it was cooked. I would stay by her side for hours, watching her create delicious meals from her two hands.

So this weekend, I decided to take things into my own two hands. I made tuna fish cakes that turned out to be rainbow tuna fish cakes, so gorgeous and without any time to make anything else, I panfried some asparagus, beans and TVP garnished with fried garlic. Things didn’t really turn out to plan but it came together sure enough although it was a bit rough around the edges.

In these amazing charred tuna fish patties were:

1 can of tuna

red beans, cooked

frozen mixed vegetables

uadai flour mix (or lentil and chickpea flour would do)

egg (optional) or water

Mix well together until mixture is sticky. I wanted to blitz the red beans to form a paste but I didn’t have enough time so they turned out a bit crumbly and didn’t stick together properly but it was good enough.

Form into patties with your two bare hands and mould with love.

On Saturday, we went for our weekly grocery shopping and found slices of sirloin pork on sale – too cheap to ignore – we bought 2 pieces. Home we trotted carrying shopping bags left right and centre when I remembered a packet of satay paste that I bought a few weeks ago. The pork would go so well, imagine soft, tender cubes of satay pork, Yum! My husband took the helm for this one and did a brilliant job at it.

I did catch him sneaking a piece or two… who are we kidding? Make that 8 pieces! They were delicious with a little added sesame seed.  The crusty burnt bits at the bottom of the pan were the best bits! Oh good gracious me.

While frying up the pork, we realised that we had too much pork for a small packet of marinade, so I had to concoct up some kind of satay sauce to go with it. Unlucky enough, we didn’t have any peanuts or peanut butter in the house so I went for the next best thing, almonds.

So into a bowl, I mixed up some dessicated coconut, soymilk, almond meal, bragg’s amino acid, curry powder and some salt and pepper.

Using the left over essence of oil and satay in the fry pan, I mixed in the sauce and fried them together until golden brown, infused and smooth. I couldn’t fault my creation at all, it actually turned out amazing! I was truly amazed by my ability to come up with something from anything in my cupboard.

The most important thing is the thumbs up and approval from the husband! Go dig in my son!

Saturday came and went, we didn’t go far because I am still feeling poorly. Strange now to think about it, how did I manage to do all of this while I’m sick? Crazy woman!

Even when I’m sick, I have a million and one things to-do, going through my mind. Falling in and out of conscience, I had to figure out what to make for my husband’s breakfasts. I don’t want to get up to prepare them so through inspirations from blogs I’ve seen online lately, banana bread seems to be up there on top of the list. I was receiving new posts for banana breads, banana muffins, slices, all too yummy to ignore. So my mind’s made up! Banana bread it is.

With the banana mix in the oven baking away, there were 2 bananas left over so I decided to get creative and made breakfast with them the quick and easy way. My doey eyed husband just stumbled out of bed, clearly in need of a good cup of joe and a sweet pick-me-up.

Having to rush to get it up and ready, I fumbled and made these sliced banana coated with cocoa and dessicated coconut drizzled with some golden syrup. Suffice to say they didn’t turn out the way I envisaged them, so with that keeping him busy, I made a second batch, this time with a bit more love and care.

And hence my beautiful banana balls, all mashed up with cocoa and dessicated coconut, lightly coated in left over dessicated coconut. Perfect-o!

Now back to the banana bread… nicely baking in the oven.

I soaked organic oats and buckwheat for 2 nights and they turned out nice and soft in which I then blitzed with a hand blender. Figured that I learnt from the tuna fish patties that some things need to be worked on a little bit more in order to achieve the proper texture and consistency otherwise it just won’t work.

So in a mixing bowl were:

3 1/2 cups (before blitzing) of sprouted oats and buckwheat

2 cups dessicated coconut

6 ripe banana, mashed

2 cups almonds, chopped

6 tsp baking powder

1 cup soymilk (& water)

Mix up all the ingredients together to form a semi runny mixture. I made 2 loaves, one with 2 eggs and the other eggless.

First layer was the banana oat mixture, then I sliced a banana in half length-wise and laid them on top before finishing the rest of the oat mixture on top, covering the banana.

Into the oven they went for 1 hour in a pre heated 180deg C oven.

The two loaves came out golden brown, crispy and smelling earthy and banana-licious. It’s been a long time since I’ve made anything “loaf-y”. It’s always muffin or scone for me, easy convenient individual morsels of yumness.

It’s so nice to see your work come out looking right, even more when you take that first slice, either to hear the crunch or to feel the moistness and texture when the knife goes through. It was such a treat, and with a slab of margarine and a cup of hot chocolate on the side, who could ask for anything else on a lovely warm spring afternoon.