Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Planning & Unplanning

Hi everyone,

Thanks for keeping posted to my blog. My sincerest apologies for being away for over a month. Fret not readers because I'm in town to serve up more meals and share tips and tricks in the kitchen.

Time is always envious of us, there will always be obstacles in your way to the groceries and eventually getting into the kitchen, be it the multiple jobs, weather, traffic, picking up the kids... the list just goes on. But how do we overcome the problem? Today I will be replying to an email from a reader, I do hope my answers helps you out :) and other a like. But if you (other readers) have something to share on this topic, please do comment, we would love to hear from you.

  1. When is the best time for you, as a working woman, to go out for groceries and do you plan your meals for the week?

    Yes, I do try to plan my meals for the week. Since the household has favourite dishes and a rather repetitive diet, I try to make my meals revolving around what they would eat. Once a week I get adventures and make something that isn't on the local menu like pasta, pizza, arab food etc. I always try to cook in batches so I don't have to keep making new dishes all the time. For example, I would make say 'Udang Masak Lemak' as my main dish and switch the side dishes. Sometimes just have fresh vegetables on the side or just a simple telur dadar to compliment the main.

    For me, the best time to go out and get groceries for the week is on a Saturday or Sunday. Early in the morning before traffic starts. This is usually the most quiet time of the day. I do sometimes stop after work - anywhere nearest. If you know the pasar malam schedule near your area, try planning your grocery shopping trip to night market schedules.

    But what you can also do to save time in the kitchen is to purchase your pre-prepared garlic and onions in large amounts. You can but these in the local markets, I get mine in Pasar Cheras. I'm sure you can get them at TTDI's wet market. Also, prepare your raw ingredients like beef, fish, prawns ahead of time and store them in the fridge ready to use. So, when you go to work you take it out to defrost in the fridge, so that when you get home - its ready to use.

  2. What happens when you just don't have appetite for what you planned?

    What happens? I'll be honest and real, it isn't the healthiest of options but I take out my Maggi! No kidding, its a nice break from rice and curry :) . But if you aren't really into instant noodles, you must always always be sure to have at least flour, bread, eggs and canned goods in the house. When I don't have appetite to eat what I had planned, I would take the bread out and make french toast, or whip up a batter and make jemput-jemput (onion dumplings), or break open any canned goods and just make whatever it is that is simple-fast and good to eat.

    You can turn a can of tomatoes into a quick pasta sauce with crushed garlic and some herbs. Can of tuna / sardine - yummy sandwiches. Sardine in a can - is 1 pot meal that may not last for 2 days, because its yummy out of the pan into your plate. Bread? You can turn this into simple tiny pizza's, just spread some tomato pasta sauce, layer with whatever toppings you have - wallah. My trick is to just make something simple. You can easily type the 3 main ingredients you have in your home and you'd be surprise at what recipes jumps up on your computer screen. That can too help you decide on what to make when uninspired to eat what you have planned.

  3. How do I quell my taste buds desire for dining out? How can I discipline my desire and cook a substitute?

    I too am guilty of such urges - DINING OUT at my favourite restaurants. I mean, if you have to - your tired and just need time out, go out, dine out. Its ok. You too deserve time out after a long day.

    But what I try to share in my blog is being self-sufficient - not a a regime, but rather something you can do for yourself and set a target. Being able to make your favourite food at home, for me is an achievement. Seeing at how much I save by cooking at home is always a plus point for me. I thought I could never make my favourite Carbonara sauce like in the Italian restaurants, but hey, once I found out the ingredients are actually with in my grasp and cost 1/2 the bill of eating out, I don't think I have to ask my self twice to convince me that sometimes I can make this at home.

    Try it, take one favourite meal you would go out for, find the recipe, make it. Once you get it right, you may just skip the notion of saying "lets go out". But like I said, sometimes I also crave for IKEA meatballs. :) guilty as charged. After all we are only human.


  1. "how can i discipline my desire..."?

    Made me think about something else.


  2. Julie!!
    You are one naughty child.


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