Learning to bake and cook

Prior to coming to Australia in January 2011, I did not know how to cook… or bake.

Sure, I could print off a few recipes and attempt to make some dishes on special occasions but rarely were they wow-worthy. And of course, I could make awesome baked goods… from a box. Why bother learning how to bake things from scratch when it was so easy to cheat?

Why did I never learn how to cook? Because my mom is one of the greatest cooks I know. She makes the most amazing traditional Vietnamese foods and great dishes from other countries as well. You can probably guess, but I have always been extremely food-spoiled. My mom also made sure to introduce us to a wide variety of flavours and spices so my love for food is now vast and diverse. Living at home and loving my mom’s cooking, I always felt it was pointless to try and make something when I’m almost sure I’ll enjoy her food more.

But then I moved to Australia and everything changed. I now lived on my own and had to cook to feed myself! Oh my gosh – the impending sense of doom. Panicking before leaving Canada, I had asked my mom to write down a few of her recipes but she insisted she was busy and that I would have no problem learning quickly on my own.

Like many things a mother says – she was right. I am now able to whip up many meals – from scratch – that are delicious and I’m proud to say I made them.

I also used to be really confused and frustrated when my mom and grandma would say, “I’m not sure about measurements, just go with your feelings” or “Once you’ve marinated the meat well, it will just smell right” or “A little bit of this, a pinch of that” or “Once you do it enough, you just know”

What does that even mean?! How am I supposed to know how much of an ingredient to use?!

But now I completely understand and it’s exactly how they said. When my friends ask me for recipes, I give them similar answers now!

So thanks mom 🙂 For believing I could do it without any expectations while I lived at home with you. I believe that learning to cook has made me a better person in life and look forward to cooking for you when you are visiting me in July!

Some recent dishes:

I have a habit of reading a bunch of different recipes for one dish. Learn the procedure, how things should be done, oven temperatures, time it takes, servings it makes, etc. I also tend to take components I like from one recipe and adding it to part of another, tweaking it here and there. Luckily for me, it’s worked so far and I can actually put it down as my own recipes!

Apple cinnamon muesli cookies – so soft, moist and delicious!

My first quiche ever! Yum 🙂 Used milk instead of cream and the filling included red peppers, bacon, onion, garlic, cheese, spinach – seasoned with salt/pepper and dash of nutmeg.

(Annoying little piece of spinach!)

We’ve also tried to cut back on our meat intake and eating more healthy. We’ve been quite successful at having meat only 2 times a week and eating more veggies, tofu, beans, nuts, etc!

Veggie curry

Mike made a buttercup squash pasta with pita garlic bread

Rice with salad and store bought veggie sausages – those sausages were not good! Would definitely try to make my own!

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